United CEO Defends Staff After Passenger Forcibly Removed From Flight
United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz has defended the actions of staff after a man who refused to give up his seat voluntarily was forcibly removed by law enforcement from an overbooked flight on Sunday. The airline was heavily criticized on social media after video footage of the passenger being dragged down the aisle went viral. “Our employees followed established procedures for dealing with situations like this,” said Munoz in a letter to United employees. He also described the passenger’s behavior as “disruptive and belligerent.” The Chicago Department of Aviation said that one of the officers involved in the incident did not follow protocol and has been placed on leave, pending further review.
“We Take Full Responsibility,” Says United CEO
United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz issued a full apology for the incident in which a passenger was forcibly dragged off a flight that was reportedly overbooked. Hours after calling the passenger “disruptive and belligerent” and commending employees for following procedure, Munoz released a statement saying that the company takes “full responsibility” for the “truly horrific” event. Munoz also promised a comprehensive review of crew movement and policies for handling oversold flights and incentivizing volunteers. “I deeply apologize to the customer forcibly removed and to all the customers aboard,” he wrote. “No one should ever be mistreated this way.”
FAA Issued a PED Safety Bulletin Following US Carry-On Ban
The FAA has confirmed it issued a safety information bulletin related to the recent carry-on ban on personal electronic devices (PEDs) on flights from 10 airports in eight Middle Eastern countries. Air Transport World said the FAA’s response “indicates the agency did more than coordinate and advise.” The contents of the bulletin will not be made public, but according to ATW, it was issued when the US Department of Homeland Security implemented the ban.The Flight Safety Foundation, a Washington DC-based nonprofit organization, issued a statement warning the industry to “fully consider the consequential risk” of increasing the number of PEDs in the cargo hold, noting that there have been incidents of lithium batteries catching fire.
BA and Iberia Order 9,000 Recaro Slimline Seats for Short-Haul
IAG-owned British Airways and Iberia have ordered a combined 9,000 Recaro SL3510 slimline seats for Airbus A320 and A321neo aircraft slated for delivery in 2018. The seats are similar to those used by Lufthansa on its new A320neo fleet and identical to those on easyJet’s Airbus fleet. The SL3510’s thin profile will allow BA and Iberia to increase passenger count and reduce fuel consumption, with each seat weighing less than 20 pounds. “We particularly need world-class aircraft seats that are utterly reliable and robust, yet also light and easy to maintain, for our extremely busy short-haul routes within Europe,” said BA’s CEO Alex Cruz. “The SL3510 model from Recaro fulfills all of our expectations.”
APEX Media Spotlight: United Airlines Passenger Removal Incident
United Airlines was heavily criticized after video footage of passenger David Dao being dragged down the aisle of an aircraft went viral. While social media was rife with indignation, as users expressed horror, disbelief and outrage over #BumpGate, the media dug into the legal and safety issues pertaining to the incident, considered the role of public relations in crisis management and suggested that this event may be indicative of troubling societal trends.
Kontron Launches Software to Protect In-Flight Wi-Fi Security
Kontron has partnered with Extreme Networks to launch a new wireless software security package for the in-flight connectivity market. With cybersecurity now an increasing priority among airlines, the Extreme AirDefense software is designed to work in conjunction with Kontron’s Cab-n-Connect A100 cabin wireless access point hardware to deliver a multilayered security package complete with proactive monitoring and threat prevention. Its features include rogue detection, intrusion prevention, active countermeasures and forensic analysis. “Kontron is offering a service package that provides ongoing updates to counter the evolving set of threats that can be anticipated,” said RJ McLaren, Kontron’s manager of Product Marketing.