Aviation

Senate to question TSA chief after airplane stowaway

The Senate committee that oversees transportation issues is planning to hold a hearing next week about the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) plans to adapt to new airport security threats. 

The hearing, on April 30, comes as the TSA is facing questions about failing to stop a teenager from stowing away on a flight from San Jose to Hawaii over the weekend. 

The Senate panel said Wednesday that the meeting would "examine the TSA's efforts to implement new procedures to confront the evolving security threats to America’s transportation systems.

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House Dem: Airplane stowaway should've been caught

The teenager who stowed away on a flight to Hawaii last weekend should have been caught "as soon as he [was] coming over the fence" of the San Jose Mineta International Airport, Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) said in an interview with CNN. 

Swalwell said it was a "remarkable story" that the 16-year-old survived the cold air and lack of oxygen outside of commercial airplanes when they reach cruising altitudes of 30,000 feet of more. 

But Swalwell told CNN's Don Lemon that the incident raises questions about airport security, especially in areas that are only supposed to be accessed by employees, such as runaways and tarmacs. 

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JetBlue pilots join union

JetBlue Airways’s pilots have voted to join the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA), officials with the union announced this week. 

Seventy-one percent of JetBlue’s pilots voted in favor of joining the ALPA, according to the labor group’s leaders. 

ALPA President Lee Moak said the JetBlue pilots’ decision would help improve working conditions for pilots across the U.S. aviation industry. 

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House Dem: Reassess airport security after Calif. stowaway

A House Democrat is requesting a "nationwide assessment of airport perimeter security" after a teenage stowaway was discovered on a flight from San Jose to Hawaii on Monday.

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) said the stowaway incident, which involved a 16-year-old bold who snuck into the landing gear of an airplane, showed there were gaps in airport security beyond the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) passenger checkpoints. 

"In September 2009, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report on our nation’s airports and their perimeter security needs. Since then, a number of high-profile perimeter security breaches have occurred at airports across the nation," Swalwell wrote in a letter to U.S. Comptroller General Gene Dodaro that was released on Tuesday.

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DOT: Average domestic airfare increased to $381 in 2013

The average amount that was paid by U.S. airline passengers for domestic flights increased to $381 in 2013, the Department of Transportation said Tuesday. 

The transportation department said the 2013 ticket price was 0.1 percent higher than the 2012 average of $380. The agency added that the 2013 figure was 17 percent lower than the 2000 average when the amount was adjusted for inflation, which would've resulted in average ticket price then of $459.

The DOT said the 2013 figure was the highest average airfare amount not adjusted for inflation since the DOT began collecting fare data in 1995. 

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NFL player told TSA to search him further

An NFL player who was arrested for allegedly making a bomb threat at Los Angeles International Airport asked for further inspection from the Transportation Security Administration, the San Jose Mercury News reports

San Francisco 49ers player Aldon Smith was initially reported to have made the threat after becoming angry about being selected for additional screening by TSA officials.  

Los Angeles Airport Police Department officials said Tuesday that Smith asked for the additional attention from TSA, however.

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Airplane stowaway raises questions about airport security

A teenager that stowed away on a flight from San Jose to Hawaii has raised questions about the effectiveness of airport security, the Associated Press reports

The teen, a 15-year-old boy from California, hid in the landing gear of a Boeing 767 airplane that was departing from San Jose. He was discovered when the plane landed in Hawaii, having survived a loss of oxygen and a temperature drop that are usually fatal at commercial airplane altitudes. 

The incident has raised questions about how a ticket-less passenger could not only get through Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoints, but also end up on a runway with access to an airplane’s mechanical equipment without being detected.  

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FAA: First drone testing site ready

The Federal Aviation Administration said Monday that its first site for testing the possibility to allowing nonmilitary drones to fly alongside commercial airplanes is ready to go.

The site, in North Dakota, is one of six that are expected to be used by the FAA to test the impact of the operation of drones on commercial flights.

The FAA is scheduled to test drones in North Dakota for two years.

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Officials to likely ‘reconsider’ missing plane search

Malaysia officials said over the weekend that they are likely to reconsider their search for an airplane that has been missing for six weeks. 

The plane, Malaysia Air’s Flight 370, was last seen by air traffic controllers on March 8. 

Malaysia’s acting Minister of Transport Hishammuddin Hussein said in a news conference this weekend that the intense searching for the missing airplane, which has been fruitless thus far, might need to be reassessed soon.

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LA airport evacuated after bomb threat

Los Angeles International Airport's Terminal 7 was evacuated this week after receiving a bomb threat, The Associated Press reported

The LAX terminal was closed for an hour on Thursday morning after a passenger said he had a bomb in his luggage, but it reopened after officials discovered no explosive device, according to the report.

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