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Posts tagged: Spokane Airport

Flight attendants for Spokane-Hawaii flight gain full-time status, health benefits

Today's Spokesman Review has a story about the first Allegiant Air direct flight to Hawaii from Spokane.

We call attention to related news about this flight; namely, that these inaugural flights will be staffed with full-time flight attendants. Up to now Allegiant has told its workers it would use part-time attendants on those flights.

Allegiant's position, based on media coverage in Hawaii, came down to an apparent desire to not pay health beneifts, according to a  story in the Honolulu Star Advertiser.

Earlier this week Transport Workers Union Local 577, representing more than 600 flight attendants at Allegiant, announced the change to full-time status for those attendants who would be based in Honolulu. Allegiant's action only affected that uncertain number based in Hawaii. Its flight attendants at its nine U.S. bases all are classified full-time and receive benefits.

The union's release said: “The airline, which begins service to Honolulu this week from airports in Boise, Phoenix/Mesa and Spokane had originally planned to service these and other Hawaii routes with part-time flight attendants based in Honolulu.

“In October, (union officials) wrote to Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie and U.S. senators and members of Congress from Hawaii. The letter questioned whether Allegiant’s planned use of so-called part-timers – for a route on which each flight lasted at least 14 hours – was a maneuver to avoid providing health care benefits for flight attendants based in Hawaii.' ”

That letter and some other efforts led to Allegiant making the change. The Star Advertiser summary of the change by Allegiant can be found here.

TSA’s next generation body scanners came out of research at PNNL lab

Last week the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced it would remove backscatter scanning machines from U.S. airports. The decision followed a fail by the company that made those units to devise a satisfying software fix for the problem of images that were deemed too invasive for many airline passengers.

Spokane and other airpots using the backscatter machines will see those replaced. TSA spokeswoman Lorie Dankers said the replacements will roll out in early summer 2013.

The next technology to go into the airports has a Washington state pedigree. Starting this summer the TSA will install machines using millimeter wave beams to look for contraband or weapons at the airline checkpoints.

That technology is developed by L-3, a New York company. That technology traces directly to research done at the Pacific Northwest National Labs in the Tri-Cities.

A story from the Review back in 2006 noted that L-3 acquired the rights to the technology after buying it from the California firm that licensed the millimeter wave system developed at PNNL.

Here's the old story for background:

April 1, 2006 in Business

Body-scanning system developed at PNNL may find wider application

The Spokesman-Review 

A New York company that has extensive contracts with the Department of Homeland Security has acquired a body-scanning system developed at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

L-3 Communications announced this week it has acquired SafeView Inc., of Santa Clara, Calif. SafeView had licensed an innovative holographic body scanner system developed in the 1990s at PNNL’s Richland, Wash., lab.

The technology uses ultra–high frequency waves known as millimeter waves to detect objects that evade the discovery of traditional metal detectors. The non-intrusive, low-radiation system provides a 360-degree image of any objects worn under the clothing of a person scanned by the screening device.

SafeView has already sold versions of its system — called the Scout Personal Screening System — to dozens of customers, including the London transportation system and to the U.S. Department of Defense, which employs the technology to protect people inside Baghdad’s Green Zone.

L-3 officials did not disclose how much the company paid to acquire SafeView. SafeView reported 2005 sales of about $50 million.

A press release on the acquisition said SafeView will help L-3 develop a more advanced set of security systems to be used in the aviation and maritime industries. L-3, which is traded publicly, had revenue of about $12 billion last year.

Rural postal cuts would not change processing center closures

Wednesday's announcement that the US Postal Service is considering reductions in hours for 13,700 rural post offices doesn't impact other plans that would close urban post offices, including three in the Spokane area. Those are in Hillyard, Parkwater and Dishman.

That's the view of Ernie Swanson, the USPS spokesman for Washington.

Swanson said the new plan also doesn't change earlier plans by the USPS to shut down some postal processing centers.

That plan, released earlier this year, would close processing centers in the TriCities, Yakima and Wenatchee, as well as one in Missoula.

Those closures would mean additional workers at Spokane's West Plains mail processing center. But a final decision on all those closures will wait until later this year, the USPS has said.  

Unlikely that Congress would approve cutting Saturday mail delivery

Last week a group of Spokane area postal workers and their backers gathered downtown to voice opposition to plans that would shut down hundreds of post offices and dozens of processing centers across the country.

The Postmaster General has said those cuts are needed for the privately funded, non-tax supported Postal Service to eliminate an $8 billion shortfall in its annual budget.
 
While people debate the issue of whether cuts at that level are needed, others are concerned that the Postmaster General will push plans to eliminate Saturday delivery.
 
That concern, however, seems to be one that won't gain much support in Congress; any initiative to cut Saturday delivery has to be approved by Congress.
 
Last week, more than 100 members of Congress signed a letter in support of six day mail, rural post offices and new innovations.
 
Rep, Don Young (R-Alaska) joined a number of other D.C. legislators in circulating a letter that read, in part:
“Rather than pass legislation which dismantles the Postal Service, Congress must be a partner in building a postal business model for the 21st century,” said Connolly.
 
“By allowing the Postal Service to innovate and relieving the retirement prefunding obligation imposed by Congress in 2006 we can protect the infrastructure of a $1 trillion mailing industry while maintaining universal service for all Americans—rural, suburban, and urban.”

Area postal service workers rally Thursday, saying mail service will suffer

 

Area post office workers will hold a rally Thursday in   downtown Spokane, protesting planned cuts they say will degrade mail service.

The rally, organized by the American Postal Workers Union, starts at 4:30 p.m. at 10 N. Post.

It’s meant to call attention to pending cuts and future job losses that the union says are avoidable.

Needing to vastly shrink its budget, the U.S. Postal Service has laid out plans to close more than 220 processing centers and thousands of post office nationwide.

Jack Talcott, a Spokane Valley postal worker and union spokesman, said the closing of processing plants in Yakima, Pasco and Wenatchee will eliminate the one-day delivery Spokane and North Idaho residents currently have.

The postmaster general has said the final decision on cuts and closures would be made on May 15. Talcott said Congress can still intervene and adopt other budget cuts that would avoid most of the closures and preserve existing mail service.

The rally’s goal, Talcott added, is “to educate people so they know what may happen to mail service.”

He said the likely scenario if the three Washington centers are closed would be: all mail normally processed there would be routed to Spokane’s center near the Spokane airport. Even though 22 or so new workers would be assigned to the Spokane center, the extra volume of mail would create a workflow bottleneck.

“It would definitely change what is now a one-day delivery schedule for area mail,” Talcott said.

If Congress makes no changes in the proposed cuts and closures, the postmaster general’s office would start implementing closures and some layoffs in late May. 

Storm didn’t stop Spokane flights. It was just Seattle and freezing rain there

Some photos from the ice and snow storm that shut down Sea-Tac airport this week demonstrate why winter can bring a major transportation hub to a halt.

The lower photo, provided via the Cliff Mass weather blog, shows icicles forming on the underside of Alaska Airlines planes. That's a good sign that trying to fly in such weather isn't advised.

The top photo, taken at one of the airport's outdoor seating areas, also shows the extent of the wintry onslaught. 

Spokane had it pretty fair by comparison. No Spokane flights — other than to and from Seattle — in were affected by the week's snowfall, said airport spokesman Todd Woodard.

Magner Sanborn watched as months of work for Netflix went down the drain

For six months Spokane ad firm Magner Sanborn developed a logo and an extensive brand and marketing components for Qwikster, a top-secret business plan by Netflix to split its company into a new division.

In September, Netflix jump-started the launch, surprising both its rental-DVD customers and its Spokane-based ad team, which expected the Qwikster announcement to come several weeks later.

Netflix told its millions of customers that those wanting just DVDs would sign up with Qwikster; those wanting streaming video over the Web would continue using Netflix.

But within three weeks of the Qwikster launch, Netflix’s management team changed its mind and scrapped the plan for two companies.

That reversal came after thousands of Netflix customers protested the split by either canceling their subscriptions or publicly lashing the company for raising prices by more than $6 per month for both DVDs and streaming movies.

The impact on Spokane’s Magner Sanborn was company whiplash, said the firm’s president, Dennis Magner. “I was as surprised as anyone to see the launch, based on the timing,” he said.

The full story appears on Spokesman.com at this link: http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2011/oct/20/netflix-reversal-felt-here/

No Qwikster after all; and no impact on the Spokane Netflix center

The weekend surprise from Netflix was the news that it dropped plans to spin off its streaming service and rename the DVD-only service as Qwikster.

Instead, the company has just gone back to the way it was. 

That flip and flop won't affect the nearest Netflix distribution center, on Spokane's West Plains near the Spokane Airport.   See the map here showing all the Netflix distribution locations: http://www.moviesinhouse.com/articles/netflix-shipping-centers.html

We'll have a local angle on the Qwikster-Netflix development next week in the business pages of The Spokesman-Review.

Spokane airport offers free Wi-Fi, luggage carts

Spokane International Airport said today that it will offer travelers 20 minutes of free Wi-Fi inside the terminal and free luggage carts, both in response to customer demand.

Lawrence Krauter, airport CEO, said in a news release that the airport's Wi-Fi access fee has been “another source of aggravation to our customers” who are already steamed over airplane pricing models and declines in customer service.

The change in Wi-Fi access will take effect on Aug. 22, the release said. Luggage carts will be available for use at no charge in early September.

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