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According to statistics released by the U.S. FAA, the total number of Category A and B runway incursions dropped dramatically for the fiscal year 2017, which runs through to the end of September.

A runway incursion, as described by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), is any unauthorized presence on a runway. Category A is defined as “a serious incident in which a collision was narrowly avoided” and Category B as “an incident in which separation decreases and there is a significant potential for collision, which may result in time-critical corrective/evasive response to avoid a collision.”

The total number of Category A and B incursions has declined to six for 2017, two of which involved commercial aircraft but with the vast majority falling into Categories C and D, which pose no risk of collision. In comparison, in the fiscal year 2000 a total of sixty seven Category A and B incursions occurred, forty three of which involved commercial aircraft. However whilst the numbers then dropped for the next 10 years, there has been a year on year increase in the last three years, culminating in nineteen events in 2016.  

The FAA have stated that reducing runway risk is a top priority, with the most serious A and B Category incursions obviously being the emphasis. One way the agency is trying to reduce incidents is with training, safety management systems and by developing runway status light technology (RWSL). Currently being used at eleven US airports, this is an in-pavement airport light which illuminates red at taxiway/runway crossings to signal a potentially unsafe situation.

The controversial, workload-increasing changes to the U.S. EEO-1 have been ‘stayed indefinitely’.

The new ruling was announced by Randel Johnson – the VP of Labor, Immigration and Employee Benefits at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce – who addressed the members of the Chamber’s Labor Relations and Employee Benefits Committee by saying:

“We have just learned that the deadline for compliance with the new EEO-1 form reporting requirement for data on hours and compensation will be stayed indefinitely.  According to our sources (The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs of the office of Management and Budget) based their decision on two grounds, one of which was the appeal submitted by the Chamber that highlighted the new form’s problems with cost, utility and confidentiality.  The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will be publishing further details about what actions they will be taking and any future deadlines and timelines in the Federal Register.  This is a victory – not just for the business community but for common sense in the world of regulations and information collection.  As you know, the Chamber was at the forefront throughout the development of the revised form in crafting arguments opposing EEOC’s gross overreach in expanding the existing EEO-1 form to unmanageable proportions, without any discernible benefit.  We will provide more details on this important development as they become available....”

As it has previously been reported, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was to require employers of 100 or more employees – and federal contractors with 50 or more employees – to give compensation data with their EEO-1 reports.

In addition, the EEO-1 filing deadline of September 30, 2017 was to be moved to March 31, 2018 with reports due on March 31 of every subsequent year.

Employers would continue to categorize employees, first by EEO-1 job category using EEOC’s 10 job categories and then by sex and ethnicity or race.

These have not changed but after reporting those details, employers would then categorize their employees by pay bands. The EEOC has added a total of 12 pay bands to the form – starting with $19,239 and under and ending with $208,000 and over.  Employers would add up the number of employees in each pay band by sex, and ethnicity or race. Finally, the new rules require firms to report the total number of hours worked by employees in each pay band.

Victoria Lipnic, Acting Chair of the EEOC received a memorandum from the Administrator of the OIRA, Neomi Rao stating that the new form can continue to be used but only to collect the usual EEO-1 information, i.e. the number of employees by race, sex and ethnicity in each of the 10 EEO-1 categories.

In addition to their basic pay (a rate determined by their rank's Department of Defense pay grade), airmen in the United States Air Force are eligible for a variety of supplemental payments and allowances including flight pay, combat pay and food and housing allowances. For the first time since 1999, on October 1st flight pay, which will now be known as Air Crew Incentive Pay, will increase from $840 a month to $1,000 a month for officers and from $400 a month to $600 a month for enlisted aircrew.

As well as the pay increase, the Air Force is also increasing the eligibility for its Aviation Bonus Program. This Program offers retention bonuses of up to $35,000 a year for pilots who stay in the service. It will now include airmen who are not currently under service contracts, those who have never signed up for a retention bonus in the past, and those whose contracts may have expired.

The announcement of the pay increases and Bonus Program was made by Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson as part of an effort to stop the exodus of experienced military pilots to the airline industry. Military pilots have the training and flight hours necessary to fly for the major airlines, without having to work for smaller regional airlines first. The major airlines also offer a higher salary than the Air Force and in 2007, the FAA increased the mandatory retirement age for pilots to 65, giving them a longer and therefore more lucrative career path.

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson stated:

“We have a number of positions around the Air Force that require the expertise of someone who has been a military pilot, and we’d like to be able to keep our pilots who are current in the aircraft, in the aircraft, and try to fill some of these vital flight slots with people who have the experience needed but who have subsequently retired from the service.”

Wilson also announced that Brig. Gen. Mike Koscheski has been put in charge of its Air Crew Crisis Task Force which concentrates on solving the problem of pilot retention.

Further reading: The USAF look into pilot sharing with the major airlines

Randstad US - one of the largest national staffing and HR service organizations - released a report in August stating that 82 percent of job seekers are frustrated with an excessively automated recruiting experience.  Candidates who apply online for jobs and never hear back from potential employers about the status of their applications are particularly affected.

Research findings are based on an OmniPulse survey fielded by national polling firm Research Now on behalf of Randstad US and was fielded for four days in June 2017.  It reviewed approximately 1,200 respondents over the age of 18 years with a nationally representative sample balanced on age, gender and region. Most applicants for jobs agreed with the technology used but were irritated when it replaced the human side of the recruiting procedure. 

The report found that 95 percent of those reviewed stated that technology should be used to assist recruitment – not replace it; 85 percent said technology made seeking employment more impersonal and 82 percent said that ideally, innovative technologies should be used in the background and come second to personal interaction.   In effect, in working with staffing or recruitment firms, candidates named ‘a company that uses innovative technologies to find me jobs but puts human interaction first’ as the most appealing. 

Linda Galipeau, North America CRO of Randstad based in Atlanta said:

“The findings reinforce what we've believed for quite some time - that successful talent acquisition lies at the intersection of technology and human touch.  If done correctly, the right combination of personal interaction with the power of today's intelligent machines can create an experience that is inherently more human."

William Tincup of SHRM-SCP, an expert on recruiting technology and president of recruitment media company RecruitingDaily stated:

“Artificial intelligence (AI) programs may help improve the candidate experience.  For example - recruiters are horrible at letting candidates know where they are in the recruiting process - AI will make it so that feedback is consistently given."

Linda Galipeau also remarked:

"Employers today and in the future will be judged by the experience they create for prospective new hires. Job candidates are empowered to provide instant feedback on employers, rating a company's candidate experience just as they would rate a movie. In a tightening labor market, companies cannot afford to lose potential talent due to a poor hiring experience. And in a technology-driven world of talent, it's not only about how a company markets itself but what others say about the company that has a positive impact on employer branding."

Pete Lamson, CEO of JazzHR - a recruiting software company based in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania - agreed and stated:

"I think certainly being highly responsive helps, respond back, it reflects back on the employer's brand."

Job seekers have become increasingly savvy about what makes a great candidate experience and what leaves them with a less-than-favorable impression. Respondents to the survey named "the degree of personal, human interaction during the process," and "the recruiter/hiring manager I worked with," as having most influenced their positive impression. 

Alan Joyce, the chief executive of Qantas has challenged Airbus and Boeing, the world’s largest aeroplane makers, to build a jet that could fly from Sydney to London, nonstop.

The Australian airline wants a Boeing 777X or Airbus A350ULR to be able to cover the 9,000 mile, 20 hour trip, without a stop for fuel and with a full load of paying passengers or cargo. Currently airplanes can almost cover the distance but not with a full payload.

"This is a last frontier in global aviation," Joyce announced last week to investors, at the same time as reporting the company’s quarterly results.

A direct flight would take around four hours less than on today’s flights which at the moment have to stop for fuel. “We believe advances in the next few years will close the gap, and Qantas has the unique operational experience to be the airline that helps make it happen,” Joyce said. “This would be one of the most strategically important aircraft orders in the history of Qantas.”

Qantas is hoping to be able to undertake routes from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane by 2022 and has dubbed the campaign “Project Sunrise” in reference to the double sunrise flights operated by the airline in World War II.

Whilst the airline currently hold the record for the world’s longest flight - its Dallas-Fort Worth to Sydney service takes around 17 hours to cover the 8,500 mile trip – from next year Emirates plan to beat this with a Dubai to Panama City service.

In light of the close call last month when an Air Canada Airbus A320 aborted its landing at San Francisco International Airport (SFO), Federal regulators have made significant changes to landing procedures and control tower staffing levels.

According to the NTSB, just before midnight on July 7th, Air Canada Flight 759 had been cleared to land on Runway 28-Right but instead lined up its approach for the parallel taxiway. The plane had travelled almost a quarter of a mile over the taxiway and flew as close as 30ft to another aircraft before the pilot aborted his landing. United Airlines pilots in one of the waiting planes alerted air traffic controllers (ATC) of the imminent collision and other planes on the taxiway turned on their landing lights as warning.

The Air Canada flight crew told investigators that as Runway 28-Left was closed and in the dark, their sight-line was shifted to the right, causing them to believe Taxiway C which runs parallel to Runway 28-Right, was their approved runway.  

The new policies implemented by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) mean that visual approaches for aircraft approaching SFO at night with an adjacent parallel runway closed, are no longer allowed. Pilots will therefore be required to do an instrument landing using the runway’s advanced guidance systems.

Ian Gregor, an FAA spokesman said:

"When these conditions prevail, our controllers (will) issue pilots Instrument Landing System approaches or satellite-based approaches, which help pilots line up for the correct runway."

In addition, the FAA have required two air traffic controllers to be on duty throughout the late-night arrival rush. Although two controllers were working on the night of 7th July, only one was in the tower, and he was busy at the time talking to another facility. Ian Gregor added:

 “Following the event, SFO tower management adopted a policy requiring two controllers to be on position working traffic until the late-night arrival rush is over.”

In a few months time, the FAA also plans to begin testing modified radar systems at its Aeronautical Center in Oklahoma City. Although these systems were originally designed to prevent runway rather than taxiway incursions, they would allow a facility's ground surveillance systems to alert ATC when an aircraft is attempting to land on a taxiway rather than a runway.

Further reading: Close call by Air Canada Plane

A new report found that nearly four in ten American adults don't have a job and are not looking for one.

President Donald Trump alleged – in his election-season – that America’s unemployment rate did not tell the whole story and is ‘one of the biggest hoaxes in modern politics’.  He claimed that the real unemployment rate could actually be 40 percent higher.

Anyone without a job and who has been actively seeking work in the last four weeks is considered, by the government, to be unemployed.  Slipping through the cracks are those who have simply given up trying to get back into the labor force.

A new study by Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project, takes a closer look at the more than ninety-four million Americans not counted in the labor force.  In this analysis, the following questions were explored.  Of the approximately twenty four million men and women of working age who were not in the labour force in 2016:

  • What are the reasons given for not working or seeking work?
  • With whom are these persons living?
  • How are they making ends meet?

The findings were that women with a high school education or less are overwhelmingly the largest group out of the labor force.  Excluding the care givers - who make up approximately forty percent - men and women give the same reasons for not belonging to the labor force.  Almost thirty per cent report being ill or disabled; eight percent are students and five percent have retired early.

Male and female nonparticipants were found to have different living arrangements, with females living with a spouse or partner and males living with parents.  Almost seventy five percent of these live in a household with earned income and only eleven percent report claiming income from a safety net when they are not receiving earned income.  More than 1.3 million Americans who are not in the labor force report having no income at all.   Forty five percent of households with a male prime-age nonparticipant and twenty eight percent with a female prime-age nonparticipant are in the bottom income group.

Researchers also found that more women than men sat on the sidelines in every educational subgroup, despite the fact that more women hold advanced degrees than men.

The report said, "Interestingly, the gender ratios among nonparticipants become more imbalanced as education increases. Among nonparticipants with a high school degree or less, there are nearly 2 women for every man; at the bachelor's degree level, three-and-a-half times as many women as men are nonparticipants."

Roughly 13 percent were not in any of the categories but had worked in some capacity over the course of the past year.

"Labor force participation is the key channel through which Americans contribute to and benefit from their economy, making it vital that we understand who is left out of the labor force," the report said. "Economic growth and broad sharing in that growth are both enhanced when the labor market makes the best possible use of workers' talents."

A survey by CIPD (the professional body for HR and people development) and the Adecco Group - of more than 1,000 employers has identified that hiring demand remains strong, whilst unemployment is at a record low.  This is in comparison with a May 2017 report and it suggests that UK employment will grow strongly in the third quarter of 2017.  However, wage growth is likely to remain weak and basic pay award expectations for the next 12 months remain at just 1%.

The quarter’s net employment balance – which is a measure of the difference between the proportion of employers who expect to increase staffing levels and those who expect to decrease them – shows an increase from +20 to +27 during the past three months.

The restraint on the basic pay award outlook can be put down to various reasons. 

Gerwyn Davies, Senior Labour Market Analyst for the CIPD said:

“Predictions of pay growth increasing alongside strong employment growth is the dog that hasn’t barked for some time now, and we are still yet to see tangible signs of this situation changing in the near-term. The facts remain that productivity levels are stagnant; public sector pay increases remain modest while wage costs and uncertainty over access to the EU market have increased for some employers. At the same time, it is also clear that the majority of employers have still been able to find suitable candidates to employ at current wage rates due to a strong labour supply until now. The good news is that the UK labour market continues to go from strength to strength. This is particularly good news for jobseekers, especially the long-term unemployed, who have recently been able to move into work more quickly than in the past. We believe therefore that the Bank of England was right to give more weight to the prospects for pay and productivity than to the rise in employment in their recent interest rate decision. Against the backdrop of future migration restrictions and a tight labour market, the need for a workforce development plan is greater than ever.”   

In the private sector, 23% of firms quote that delivering the National Living Wage is a brake on pay growth; 21% cite uncertainty over access to the single market and 21% suggest the Government’s auto-enrolment pension’s scheme is acting as a challenge. Another 21% of firms report that affordability is keeping down pay - which underlines the urgent need to address the weak productivity growth in the UK.  In the meantime, around three quarters of public sector employers state that restraint in the public sector is the main reason why they cannot complement the inflation rate target of 2% in their next basic pay award.

Research by the CIPD also indicates that employee pay expectations are weaker this year compared with last year.  This may suggest that employers are not coming under any additional pressure to raise pay from workers, despite the low unemployment rate.

In retrospect, the standard for all basic pay decisions taken in the first six months of 2017 is 1.5%. This may mean that employers have become more negative about basic pay growth over the past six months due to a slowing economy. 

Alex Fleming, President of General Staffing at the Adecco Group UK remarked:

“This quarter’s report demonstrates strong and stable employment intentions. These have remained in a positive range for the last two years during which time we have seen unemployment consistently fall. Context is important here though: employers continuing to hire isn’t, necessarily, an indication that they are convinced of a bright economic future, rather that nothing significant has changed in recent months. Many employers are getting on with the day-to-day hiring required to keep their businesses ticking along until they have enough information to build concrete recruitment plans. Overall, our labour market picture looks promising especially considering the unknown future impact of Brexit on the flow of talent in and out of the UK. Strong labour supply is a key contributor: the long-term unemployed are finding work more quickly and the amount of workers aged 50-64 who are in employment has risen by around 200,000 during the past year. However continued subdued wage growth that the labour market is currently facing is a real issue that employers need to tackle head on. Employers must to invest in staff to increase productivity, thus in-turn providing them with the opportunity to increase wage growth.” 

In response to an increase in laser incidents in recent years, on 12th August the U.K. Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy launched a call for evidence into the regulation of laser pointers. This will include “the potential value of retail licensing schemes, advertising restrictions and potential restrictions on ownership in order to address serious public safety concerns”.

A spokesperson for the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said: “We welcome the call for evidence. Shining a laser at an aircraft in flight could pose a serious safety risk and it is a criminal offence to do so.”

At the moment, only laser pens considered safe for their intended use should be sold to consumers. However, the Government believes there is evidence that these regulations are not always adhered to.

Margot James, the Government’s Business Minister stated: “Public safety is of the utmost importance and we must look carefully to make sure regulations are keeping up with the increased use of these devices.”

She added: “Whilst we know most users don’t intend any harm, many are not aware of the safety risks and serious health implications of shining laser pointers directly into people’s eyes.”

Airline pilots have long since voiced their concerns about the regulation of laser pens, especially given that according to the CAA, 1,258 laser attacks were reported on aircraft in the UK last year.

Currently, under Article 225 of the Air Navigation Order (ANO) (2016), “A person must not in the United Kingdom direct or shine any light at any aircraft in flight so as to dazzle or distract the pilot of the aircraft”.

The maximum penalty for this offence is a fine up to £2,500, however measures to make it easier for police to prove the offence were dropped from the Government’s legislative programme after the general election in June.

Countries such as the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand already have licensing schemes where the retailer or consumer must hold a licence for a high-powered laser pointer - the Government are intending to look at the case for a similar scheme that could be rolled out in the UK.

A BBC Panorama investigation has revealed that a total of 387 people were arrested for drunken behaviour at airports or on flights between February 2016 and February 2017 - up from 255 the previous year. The statistics were garnered from 18 UK regional police forces with a major airport in their area.

The BBC investigation comes after an International Air Transport Association (IATA) report released in 2016 showed a rise in bad behaviour on airlines, with alcohol or drugs being implicated in around a quarter of the incidents. In July 2016 a voluntary code of conduct was introduced by the aviation industry. However, even though most of the largest airlines signed up, the recent BBC investigation showed that over a quarter of cabin crew who were asked were unaware of it.

To help counteract the problem, Ryanair banned customers from drinking alcohol purchased in duty free, on board their aircraft. Furthermore some flights, especially to destinations popular with young people, have a total ban on bringing alcohol on the aircraft.

Additionally, Ryanair have recently called on UK airports to enforce a two-drink limit, urging airports to take more responsibility for serving alcohol. Enforcement of the rule would be through the mandatory use of boarding cards when buying alcoholic drinks in airports, along with a ban on the sale of alcohol before 10am in the morning. Currently, UK licensing laws which prevent the sale of alcohol outside certain hours, do not apply to airside sales of alcohol, therefore restaurants and bars can stay open to serve passengers on the earliest and latest flights.

Kenny Jacobs, Chief Marketing Officer at Ryanair said:

“It’s completely unfair that airports can profit from the unlimited sale of alcohol to passengers and leave the airlines to deal with the safety consequences.”

A House of Lords committee report earlier this year also called for tougher rules on the sale of alcohol at airports - which included revoking the airports' exemption from the Licensing Act - however the Home Office are still considering the report's recommendations.

Although the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed that the number of people at retirement age in the UK who now receive a private pension income has almost doubled, The People’s Pension (TPP) has reported that retiring fully and relying solely on a pension is no longer an option for the majority.

Whilst almost 80% of retirees received a private pension last year, 52% of 4,000 expectant retirees polled believe that their financial situation will not support the lifestyle they would want in retirement. To supplement their pensions, 39% said they would have to continue to work on a part time basis, with 24% stating they will rely on inherited wealth.

Darren Philp, who is Director of Policy and Market Engagement for The People’s Pension stated:

“This research confirms that the concept of a “carriage clock” retirement, whereby people completely stop work and rely on their pension savings is consigned to history. Instead, people appear to be planning for a phased retirement, where they may choose to work part-time, or surviving on uncertain funding sources such as an inheritance or property. Most worryingly, these “precarious pensioners” are not solely the generations of the future but include those over 55, many of whom may be unprepared financially for imminent retirement.”

Even though state pension income has almost doubled in the last 40 years, the ONS disclosed that over half of the increase in gross income for average retirees is a result of an increase in income from private pensions. Retired households with private pensions had 60% more income than those relying on a state pension.

At the end of 2016, whilst the average income for a retired household was less than the average income for a non-retired household, data does however show that it has grown at a faster rate than the average non-retired household over the last 40 years.

Steve Webb, Director of Policy at Royal London said:

"In previous generations being elderly was a by-word for being poor. That has changed dramatically in the last 40 years with pensioner incomes nearly trebling whilst the incomes of the working age population rose much more slowly.”

Experts believe that while automatic enrollment will go a long way to improving retirement outcomes in the UK, the minimum contributions still won’t be sufficient. Workers will need to build up their pensions from the earliest possible age and at a faster rate than at present.