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"The head of a tiny Pacific airline that pioneered a fare system based on passengers’ weight said Wednesday the move had been so successful the carrier is upgrading its fleet.
Samoa Air introduced its world-first system late last year, when it began charging passengers fares based on how much they weigh, rather than a set price for each seat.
Chief executive Chris Langton said the 1.34 tala (64 cents) per kilogram charge had proved popular over the first 12 months as it meant cheaper fares for most passengers.
“People do the sums, that’s their first interest” he told the ABC.
“They compare what they would pay on a pay-by-weight system and just do basic arithmetic.”
The World Health Organisation says Samoa has one of the world’s highest rates of obesity, leading to soaring levels of weight-related coronary disease, diabetes and strokes in the Pacific island nation.
“We find that generally speaking if you look at any operation anywhere between any destination worldwide, a person who comes in at about 120 kilos or less will always be better off to travel on a pay-by-weight system,” Langton said.
He said the airline was in the process of adding to its three-aircraft fleet a new Cessna 208, which would be configured to ensure larger passengers who pay high fares are given more space.
“That way we can provide for people who are paying more because they are larger, obviously in the Pacific that is the case,” he said. “Everybody gets what they’re paying for.”
He said larger airlines were considering similar schemes.
“The interest worldwide hasn’t diminished at all. There’s massive discussion going on about how pay-by-weight can be transferred to larger airplanes,” he said.
A London design firm recently unveiled its concept for an expandable plane seat that could be widened in order to accommodate larger passengers.
Meanwhile, plane manufacturer Airbus has engaged in a war of words with rival Boeing over the width of plane seats, arguing that the airline industry should adopt a standard minimum width of 18 inches (46 centimetres).
A first-class passenger who screamed profanities and disobeyed crew orders on a Detroit-to-Shanghai flight, causing the pilot to divert to Anchorage, Alaska, was charged on Tuesday with interfering with flight crew members and attendants.
The Sunday flight, operated by Delta Air Lines, stopped in Alaska’s biggest city, where officers arrested Stephanie Heizman Auerbach, a Shanghai-based designer and owner of an apparel and fashion company, according to court documents.
An affidavit filed in US District Court in Anchorage said Auerbach’s disruptive behavior began 60 to 90 minutes into the flight, when she began talking loudly, making gestures, walking up and down the aisle and climbing over seats.
She “screamed profanities” at flight attendants and five times refused to heed instructions to return to her assigned seat, according to the affidavit, filed by Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Benjamin Hallowell.
Flight attendants had served her five glasses of white wine, and passengers said she took additional alcoholic beverages from the galley without the knowledge of flight crew members, according to the affidavit.
The plane’s captain “determined that it was not safe to continue the flight” with Auerbach aboard and diverted to Anchorage, the affidavit said.
Two children travelling with Auerbach were allowed to remain on the flight because they were being met in Shanghai by their father, according to the affidavit.
PASSENGERS who flew from Brisbane to Sydney on a recent Qantas flight may have been exposed to measles, NSW and Queensland health authorities say.
The warning comes after it was confirmed a passenger on Qantas flight 0545 that left Brisbane at 5.25pm (AEST) on Saturday had the highly contagious disease.
Dr Vicky Sheppeard, Director of Communicable Diseases at NSW Health, says people on that flight should watch out for symptoms such as fever, tiredness, runny nose, cough and sore red eyes. Symptoms could be expected to appear any time between August 30 and September 10.
So far this year eight measles-infected travellers have arrived in NSW, while measles cases linked to international travellers have also been reported in Melbourne and Brisbane.
In Victoria, 10 cases of measles were detected in just three weeks.
A Melbourne man has been linked to four cases in Victoria and one in Queensland after his diagnosis earlier this month prompted health alerts in both states.
Local public health units are contacting passengers who were seated near the infected passenger on the Qantas flight.
People who believe they have symptoms of measles, which can cause swelling of the brain, should seek medical advice.
Two pilots died in a UPS jumbo cargo plane crash early Wednesday morning just outside a Birmingham, Ala., airport, officials said.
A UPS spokesman confirmed to MyFoxAL.com that the plane was a UPS A-300 Airbus, tail number N155UP, with two crew members aboard. The flight originated in Louisville, Ky., and crashed upon its approach to Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport
‘It was on fire before it hit’
Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen told The Associated Press that the plane crashed before dawn. Debris was still smoldering and the nose of the plane was detached from the body.
The plane crashed in an isolated field outside the airport’s perimeter fence and a white plume of smoke was seen rising from the site. Teams of emergency crews responded to the crash.
It was not immediately known what the plane was carrying; UPS spokesman Jeff Wafford said only that the plane was carrying a variety of cargo.
Sharon Wilson, who lives near the airport, said she was in bed before dawn when she heard what sounded like engines sputtering as the plane went over her house.
“It sounded like an airplane had given out of fuel. We thought it was trying to make it to the airport. But a few minutes later we heard a loud `boom,”‘ she said.
Another resident, Jerome Sanders, lives directly across from the runway. He said he heard a plane just before dawn and could see flames seconds before it crashed.
“It was on fire before it hit,” Sanders said.
The National Transportation Safety Board said it was deploying a Go-Team from Washington, D.C., to investigate the crash. The scene is about a half-mile north of Runway 18 where weather conditions were rainy with low clouds.
“The plane is in several sections,” said Birmingham Mayor William Bell, who was briefed on the situation by the city’s fire chief. “There were two to three small explosions, but we think that was related to the aviation fuel.”
Previously, a UPS cargo plane crashed on Sept. 3, 2010, in the United Arab Emirates, just outside Dubai. Both pilots were killed. Authorities there blamed the crash on its load of between 80,000 to 90,000 lithium batteries, which are sensitive to temperature. Investigators found that a fire on board likely began in the cargo containing the batteries.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/08/14/ups-cargo-plane-crashes-near-alabama-airport/#ixzz2bxdUVU5l