Downgraded: Ryanair paying its fines
Ryanair is appealing a 3 million euro fine levied against it by Italian regulators, for failing to meet obligations to passengers during the first round of the Icelandic volcano delay fiasco. You may recall that Ryanair has argued that the EU rules requiring airlines to compensate passengers for delays and cancellations are tilted too far in the consumer’s favor.
Downgraded: Volcano scams
For those who really have had their travel plans affected by the volcano, be aware that there is a scam afoot that seeks to bilk you out of your money. Spam e-mails suggest that passengers are eligible for a substantial claim if they file an application fee with the British Civil Aviation Authority. Of course, the site is bogus, and the money goes to a scammer. Avoid.
Downgraded: Spirit Airlines
Spirit Airlines pilots are threatening to strike, and now the company is threatening to lay off up to 1583 of its 2300 employees. It’s an oddly precise number. The pilots’ union has taken their fight with management public, by purchasing billboards warning customers not to book with Spirit.
Upgraded: Fuel efficient aircraft design
MIT scientists are working on an aircraft design for NASA that would burn 70% less fuel than current-generation Boeing 737s, emit 75% less nitrous oxide, be quieter, and take off from shorter runways. A design is being floated:
In today’s commercial airplanes, air flows directly into the engines located on the plane’s wings. That undisturbed, high-speed air flow drags on the plane, and requires more fuel to overcome the design inefficiency.
MIT’s design changes all that. By moving the engines to the plane’s tail, they take in slower moving air present in the wake of the fuselage. Less drag means less fuel is needed to get the plane the same distance.