Latest from The Spokesman-Review
Tyrel Schlecht of Piersol Construction grades the gravel bed under the future equipment bay as he works on the new fire station at Spokane International Airport recently. The station will have sleeping quarters for five firefighters and a 34-foot observation tower. (SR photo: Jesse Tinsley)
A new fire station at Spokane International Airport is rising from the grassy flat southwest of the Alaska Airlines terminal. The $8 million project will replace the existing fire station located northeast of the A and B concourses. Airport officials said the old station has reached the end of its useful life. The 17,700-square-foot facility will have four equipment bays. It’s being built by Lydig Construction under a design by Integrus Architecture, both of Spokane. While the new building appears to be located in a remote spot, it’s closer to the center of the main runway as well as the crosswind runway, said Todd Woodard, airport spokesman/Mike Prager, SR. More here.
Question: How often do you visit the Spokane airport in a given year?
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.
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:
Body-scanning system developed at PNNL may find wider application
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.
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.
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.
“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 post office workers will hold a rally Thursday in downtown
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
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
“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.
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.
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.
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 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.