Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Swift Air grounded

No flights from USA to EX-YU this summer
The airline that was contracted by Air Plus to begin flights from Chicago to Zagreb and Belgrade last Friday has voluntarily grounded its entire fleet after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) expressed concerns over the airline’s staff training practices and manuals. The FAA denied Swift to depart on Friday evening with 221 passengers on the inaugural flight. According to the tour operator Air Plus, it had no idea that Swift was having problems. In 2009 Swift Air was under investigation by the FAA for safety and maintenance issues after a nose gear collapse.

Only 2 days before the flights were to be launched, the CEO of Zagreb Airport warned that the inaugural flight would be cancelled due to low interest but noted that flights would begin a week later. This was denied by all other parties involved in these flights.

Air Plus began refunding passengers their tickets yesterday. Passengers on the first inaugural flight have been offered either alternative arrangements to their destination or their money back. All flights from Chicago to Zagreb and Belgrade have been cancelled. What was to be the first direct flight from Chicago to Zagreb and the first flight from the Windy City to Belgrade since 1992 turned into a fiasco. It remains to be seen if any other airline might attempt the service next year.

21 comments:

  1. I don't tottally buy this "volontaruly" grounding by itself just minutes before take off. Something is fishy here.

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  2. It's all about politics.:) Greetings

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  3. I'm sorry but it's pathetic how people always manage to find a way around the facts and produce ridiculous conspiracy theories. It's simple: the FAA didn't like how the airline trains its crew and revoked their licence. No aliens flew down, no US Senate involved. God, get a life.

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  4. Penalties for an airline are much higher if cansells flights due to commercial reasons. But still, to cancell flight with psgrs on board is funny. I mean why didn't they cancell it earlier? I feel sorry for psgrs and would like to advice them to fly intercontinental routes with traditional airlines with time table scheduled and fares set at least 3 months in advance.

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  5. OT:

    Croatia Airlines will introduce flights from Dubrovnik to Paris during winter season 2011/12. Flights from Dubrovnik to Rome will operate on Fri and Sun instead of Wed and Sat during winter season 2011/12.

    Sale of tickets DBV-BEG-DBV and BEG-DBV-BEG also improve, they start from 130 € (122 €) for rt ticket, now they sell those tickets for 166 to 217 € for July.

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  6. "It's all about politics"

    Hahahaha... yeeeeh, USA find this one flight per week so dangers for USA economy, national security and interest that they were so desperate and made desperate move. We are so important to them and this flight was even more important than us!

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  7. It is very strange that the airline waited until the last minute to tell passengers the flight was cancelled. The tour operator, in my opinion, is also to blame. They should have done their homework, in regards to the airline. I guess this is what happens when something is arranged so quickly.

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  8. OT: dunno If anyone has noticed but from friday there are no more Iran Air technical stops in Belgrade. A friend of mine who works at the airport, told me that it had something to do with pressures from the EU or USA, since the airport earned 2 milion usd for 2 weeks (all in cash, crisp dollar bills)... Dunno why it happened but it maybe had something to do with the Iran banned also refueling to the european companies, as a reciprocal measure.

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  9. Statement from CCAA:

    BUDUĆI da je u posljednje vrijeme u medijima bilo dosta špekuliranja u vezi otkazivanja izravnih letova američke tvrtke "Swift Air" prema Zagrebu, Agencija za civilno zrakoplovstvo objavila je priopćenje u kojemu se objašnjavaju nastale nedoumice. Priopćenje prenosimo u cijelosti.

    Vrlo je tendenciozno bez ikakve provjere činjenica tvrditi kako su vlasnici tvrtke koja je naručila letove, „uz pomoć nekih osoba iz hrvatskog sustava zračnog prometa“ pokušale prevariti američke zrakoplovne vlasti FAA, te let koji je Chicago trebao povezivati sa Zagrebom i Beogradom, deklarirati samo kao let za Zagreb, jer bi se na taj način „izbjegla ograničenja koja proizlaze iz toga što je FAA svrstao Srbiju u kategoriju 2“.

    Ovakve tvrdnje su u potpunosti netočne i neodgovorne. Naime, Agencija za civilno zrakoplovstvo RH službeno je i na vrijeme bila upoznata s promjenama u redu letenja tvrtke „Swift Air“ na što nije imala nikakve primjedbe. Zrakoplovna tvrtka „Swift Air“ dobila je dozvolu Agencije za civilno zrakoplovstvo RH za obavljanje letova kako su podneseni u zahtjevu, a temeljem potpisanog bilateralnog ugovora između RH i SAD te je dozvola, što se tiče Agencije za civilno zrakoplovstvo, još uvijek na snazi.

    Nadalje, za kategorizaciju država prema FAA IASA programu, te za određivanje pravila koja vrijede za američke operatore temeljem FAA IASA programa isključivo su nadležne američke zrakoplovne vlasti (FAA), a američki operatori odgovorni su za postupanje sukladno pravilima koja određuje njihova zrakoplovna vlast. Obzirom da "hrvatski sustav zračnog prometa" nije nadležan za nadzor postupaka Swift Air-a po pitanju primjene američkih (FAA IASA) pravila, već je to isključivo nadležnost FAA, ne postoji nikakva mogućnost da je "hrvatski sustav zračnog prometa" "pokušao izvršiti prevaru".

    Republika Hrvatska i Agencija za civilno zrakoplovstvo nemaju nikakav utjecaj na odluke koje kao nadležno tijelo donosi američki FAA u vezi predmetnih operacija. Naime, prema dostupnim informacijama, američke zrakoplovne vlasti 17. lipnja 2011. prizemljile su sve zrakoplove tvrtke „Swift Air“, odnosno zabranile su tvrtki obavljanje svih letačkih operacija, a prema tvrdnjama zrakoplovne tvrtke "Swift Air" razlozi nemaju nikakve izravne veze sa odvijanjem operacija prema Zagrebu ili Beogradu. Tvrtka „Swift Air“ objavila je službeno priopćenje u kojem ističe kako su iz FAA dobili informacije da su zastarjeli priručnici za obuku razlog prizemljenja njezinih zrakoplova.

    Treba također reći kako zračne luke, u ovom slučaju Zračna luka Zagreb, ne odobrava međunarodne letove kako se želi prikazati u medijima, niti su iste dužne posebno prijavljivati nadležnim vlastima, već je to obaveza operatora zrakoplova, što je u ovom konkretnom slučaju „Swift Air“ i učinio kad je zatražio odobrenje od Agencije za civilno zrakoplovstvo RH.

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  10. The FAA didn't revoke the license, but I think if the airline didn't voluntarily ground itself, the FAA would have. The last minute thing happened because Swift thought they could patch things up with the FAA at the last minute. The worst thing for Swift would have been for them to fly to Zagreb or Belgrade and not be allowed to land back in the US.

    I feel bad for the passengers mostly, but also for AirPlus as I am sure they have and will lose quite a bit of money with no hope of ever recovering it (unless their insurance covered this event).

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  11. A recording on AirPlus voicemail said: “With all passengers checked in and boarded, and luggage stored in the aircraft, we received information that Swift Air would be unable to operate our flight due to an FAA decision beyond our control. We are still trying to obtain details for this abruptive (sic) stop to our operations. Currently all flights are canceled and all passenger funds are being returned beginning Monday at 10 a.m.”

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  12. Aleks Nikolic USAJune 22, 2011 at 1:36 PM

    ok everyone, NO WE WERE NOT ON THE PLANE. we were sitting at the gate, staring at the plane for house haha. if anyone wonders btw why i am not logged into my account its because its on my laptop which i will have internet soon on......

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  13. damn auto-correct
    house=hours lol

    Aleks, did they give you decent alternate flights?

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  14. I heard that airplus is going to file bankruptcy and all the other travel agencies that sold their tickets will not get refund back...

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  15. http://www.wifr.com/video/?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=5969212

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  16. That news broadcast looks really shiffty, like a back yard shoot. Also the girl can not even pronounce Croatia properly and they didn't even mention Belgrade, Serbia.

    The news coverage and quality sums up the airline and airport to be honest.

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  17. Aleks Nikolic USAJune 24, 2011 at 12:24 PM

    E said,

    yes they put us on Lufthansa through Frankfurt (surprise , surprise! ) and in this video, you can see me for like 3 seconds (my face) ha...

    And it said on our tickets that the US Government paid for our tickets.......

    And people, we have never heard of Rockford. We went there because it offered first nonstop flights from USA to our homeland after 20 years. Still isent happening lol

    That girl was there, did not interview me cus i had enough with 2 other people interviewing me but she just showed my face, kinda weird haha. THEY DIDN|T MENTION BEOGRaD? And NO , there are no fugin flights from anywhere in the US to Zagreb or Beograd, WOW! Idk where she heard this. I was the one who told her me and lot of my friends and family are flying from Ohio.

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  18. From Chicago you could also connect with Turkish Airlines too, that would be a potentially cheap ticket I assume

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  19. I found this online - http://www.nusbg.com/english/air_tickets.html

    Shows a large schedule for ORD-BEG-ORD non-stop!

    and this really funny video

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U__T7t4eGVo

    "The first direct flight after 19 years from Chicago" the song they used is nearly 30 years old!

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  20. Great

    "June 24, 2011

    Swift Air has completed its review with the FAA on June 24 with all procedures and manuals being approved. Swift Air will resume Part 121 operations on Saturday, June 25.

    We thank our clients for their patience and look forward to continuing to provide them with outstanding service and unparalleled safety. "

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