“This is empty right now,” Mr. Pomeroy said, smoothly steering his white 2014 Ford Explorer (what he calls his “mobile command center”) past a swath of freshly paved asphalt. “But in the summer, and during the event in particular, there’s airplanes parked everywhere up here.”

Much like the activities of the conference, elements of the travel there are shrouded in secrecy. Many jets flying in are registered to obscure owners and limited liability companies, some with only winking references to their passengers. The jet that carried Mr. Kraft last year, for example, is registered under “Airkraft One Trust,” according to records from the Federal Aviation Administration. The plane that Mr. Bezos flew in on is registered to Poplar Glen, a Seattle firm.

Representatives for Mr. Kraft and Mr. Bezos declined to comment. Mr. Bezos is not expected to turn up at Sun Valley this year, according to an advance list of guests that was obtained by The New York Times.

Mr. Pomeroy plans well in advance to deal with the intense air traffic generated by the conference, which he refers to obliquely as “the annual fly-in event.” Without proper organization, flocks of private jets could stack up in the airspace around Friedman, creating delays and diversions while pilots burn precious fuel.

That was the case for the 2016 conference, which coincided with Mr. Pomeroy’s first week on the job. That year, some aircraft circled overhead or sat on the tarmac for more than an hour and a half, waiting for the airspace and runway to clear.

“I saw airplanes literally lined up to take off from the north end of the field almost all the way down to the south end of the field,” Mr. Pomeroy said, referring to the 7,550-foot runway. “Tail to nose, all the way up the taxiway.”

After that episode, Mr. Pomeroy enlisted Greg Dyer, a former district manager at the F.A.A., to help unclutter the tarmac. The two coordinated with an F.A.A. hub in Salt Lake City to line up flights, sometimes 300 to 500 miles outside Sun Valley. For some flights, the staging begins before the planes take off.

“Before, it looked like an attack — it was just airplanes coming from all points of the compass, all trying to get here at the same time,” said Mr. Dyer, an airport consultant for Jviation-Woolpert.

Last year, delays were kept to a maximum of 20 minutes, and no commercial travelers missed connecting flights because of air traffic caused by the conference, Mr. Pomeroy said.

When moguls are forced to circle in the air, they often loiter in great style. Buyers willing to shell out tens of millions for a high-end private plane are unlikely to balk at an additional $650,000 to outfit the aircraft with Wi-Fi, said Lee Mindel, one of the founders of SheltonMindel, an architectural firm that has designed the interiors of Gulfstream and Bombardier private jets. Some owners, he said, have opted for bespoke flatware from Muriel Grateau in Paris, V’Soske rugs or other luxe features.

“If you have to ask what it costs, you really can’t afford to do it,” Mr. Mindel said.

During the pandemic, when commercial travel slowed because of restrictions, corporate jaunts increased among a subset of executives who didn’t want to be held back, said David Yermack, a professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business. He added that it might be cheaper in the long run to compensate chief executives with jet travel than pay them with cash.

“I think it was Napoleon who said, ‘When I realized people would lay down their lives for little pieces of colored ribbon, I knew I could conquer the world,’” Mr. Yermack said.

The glut of flights certainly raises practical concerns. The residents of Hailey, as well as nearby Ketchum and Sun Valley, have complained in the past about the noise created by the jets zooming into Friedman Memorial Airport.

To deal with the complaints, Mr. Pomeroy and the Friedman Memorial Airport Authority curtailed flights between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. and limited the number of takeoffs and landings from the north, over the little city of Hailey.

Before the conference, Mr. Pomeroy sends a letter to incoming pilots about what to expect, admonishing them to keep the noise to a minimum.

“While the overwhelming majority of users during this event are respectful of our program and community, only a few operators who blatantly disregard our program, or who are negligent in educating themselves about our program, leave a negative impression on all of us,” Mr. Pomeroy wrote this year.

Allen & Company’s stinginess about some conference details extends to the airport. But Mr. Pomeroy and his team get enough information to conclude when the moguls will arrive and are about to leave town.

When the schmoozing is over next week, Mr. Pomeroy will begin the arduous task of ushering the corporate titans out of Idaho. Often that means closing the airport briefly to arrivals while they hustle out departures for an hour.

As the last jets get ready to leave, Mr. Pomeroy said, he and his team breathe a sigh of relief.

“Afterward, I am ready to hit the river for some serious fly-fishing for a day or two,” he said.

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Boeing shares sink on fresh 777X setbacks, array of charges, article with image

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April 27 (Reuters) – Boeing Co (BA.N) unveiled $2.7 billion in charges and added costs across its aircraft portfolio on Wednesday, and expressed doubts over hitting jet delivery targets as technical problems, inflation and supplier risks cloud its path toward recovery.

Shares of the U.S. planemaker fell to a nearly 1-1/2 year low after it posted a quarterly loss and announced it was halting 777X production through 2023 due to a fresh delay in its entry into service after certification problems and weak demand.

“Another dreadful set of results,” Agency Partners analyst Nick Cunningham said in a client note, adding that a “general sense of disarray continues”.

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On the plus side, Boeing said it submitted a certification plan to U.S. air-safety regulators in a step toward resuming deliveries of its 787 Dreamliner, halted for nearly a year by inspections and repairs in a separate industrial headache costing about $5.5 billion. read more

The twin-aisled Dreamliner, along with its cash cow 737 MAX, are vital to Boeing’s ability to emerge from overlapping coronavirus and jet-safety crises, a path steepened by war in Ukraine.

Boeing did not specify when Boeing would resume Dreamliner deliveries. Reuters reported last week Boeing had advised key airlines and parts suppliers that the deliveries would resume in the second half of this year. read more

Boeing also confirmed a delay in handing over the first 777X jet to 2025, from the previous target of late 2023, but said it remained confident in the program. [nL2N2WK1VK]

“We’ve got to give ourselves the time and freedom to get this right,” Calhoun told analysts.

Calhoun said the halt in 777-9 production – which will add $1.5 billionin fresh costs – was based on a longer safety certification timeline, a risk reported by Reuters in February. read more

He said the production pause would help minimize inventory and the number of jets requiring retrofits, while it adds to freighter capacity with a newly launched cargo spinoff of the 777X, the world’s largest twin-engine passenger plane. read more

“We are concerned that this delay (in 777X delivery) may allow airlines to cancel without penalty,” Citi Research analyst Charles Armitage said.

Boeing is facing an increasingly high-stakes battle to win certification of the largest variant of the 737 MAX before a new safety standard on cockpit alerts takes effect at year-end.

The deadline for changes was introduced as part of broader regulatory reforms at the Federal Aviation Administration following fatal 737 MAX crashes in 2018 and 2019. read more

“The intent of that legislation was never to stop the derivative product line with respect to the MAX,” Calhoun said. “So I believe our chances are good with respect to getting legislative relief. It doesn’t mean we’ll get them. And if we don’t, it’s a problem.”

Boeing reiterated it expects its 737 MAX production rate to reach 31 planes per month in the second quarter, a slight delay from what some analysts expected, though industry sources have not ruled out a slip. It has 320 of the jets in inventory.

Boeing said it was on track to return to positive cash flow in 2022 with no need for an immediate capital raise as it ramps up deliveries of the cash-cow narrow-body, though it faces risks in the crucial China market even as travel rebounds from the pandemic.

“Traffic is returning, and it’s returning in a pretty big way,” Calhoun said.

It reported a quarterly core loss per share of $2.75, compared with a loss of $1.53 per share a year ago. Revenue fell to $13.99 billion from $15.22 billion.

Like other aerospace companies, Boeing is grappling with supply chain logjams, inflation and fallout from war in Ukraine.

“Inflation continues to take a hard run at everything we do,” Calhoun told analysts.

It booked a $660 million charge in the quarter on its VC-25B – commonly known as Air Force One – due to higher supplier costs and technical problems and schedule delays.

“Air Force One, I’m just going to call a very unique moment, a very unique negotiation, a very unique set of risks that Boeing probably shouldn’t have taken,” Calhoun said. “But we are where we are, and we’re going to deliver great airplanes. And we’re going to recognize the costs associated with it.”

Boeing also recorded $367 million in charges for its T-7A Red Hawk trainer jet due to inflation, supply chain issues and pandemic impacts.

And it booked pre-tax charges of $212 million due to the war in Ukraine and international sanctions against Russia, which pose risks to materials supply and aircraft orders. read more

Asked whether Boeing would hit a 500-aircraft delivery target for the 737 MAX this year, Chief Financial Officer Brian West said, “we probably won’t get quite all the way there.”

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Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle and Abhijith Ganapavaram in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Nishit Jogi from Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur, Bernadette Baum and Nick Zieminski

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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The End of the All-Male, All-White Cockpit

Then the university called off its partnership with the flight school, making it difficult for Ms. Percy to get the pilot training she needed in time to graduate, so she switched to a concentration in aviation management. It wasn’t until she arrived at the Lt. Col. Luke Weathers Jr. Flight Academy, which was started by the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals, in May 2020 that she began flight training in earnest. Now, Ms. Percy expects to receive her airline pilot certification within a year, with plans to pursue a Ph.D after that.

While flight school can be expensive, the payoff is improving. There were an estimated 164,000 certified active airline pilots in the U.S. last year, slightly fewer than there were in 2019, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. Desperate airlines looking to staff up have started offering early-career pilots higher salaries, bigger bonuses and better schedules. A student can earn a six-figure salary within a decade of graduating, sometimes much sooner, and a senior pilot at a major airline can easily earn several hundred thousand dollars per year. But the price is still daunting, especially in an industry that seems to swing so easily between good times and bad.

Historically, the armed forces offered a less-expensive path into the field. But the military has long struggled with pilot diversity and shortages, too. Still, the Air Force has slowly improved diversity among active duty pilots: Today, about 8 percent of those pilots are women and about 13 percent are nonwhite. While nowhere near reflective of the American public, those figures are still better than the numbers for commercial airlines.

But the reason for racial inequality among pilots that is most commonly cited by experts and instructors is perhaps the most apparent: A lack of role models and exposure has played a central role in keeping many women and people of color out the field.

“Historically, we’ve seen that a lot of our aviators come out of the military or have family members that were pilots or are somehow involved in the industry,” said Allison McKay, the chief executive of Women in Aviation International. “If you don’t have either of those two things, you may not even have considered flying.”

The group is working to change that. Every year, the nonprofit hosts an annual “Girls in Aviation Day,” with events around the world connecting pilots and other aviation professionals with children and students. The Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals and groups representing other underrepresented groups, including Latinos or the L.G.B.T.Q. community, are making similar efforts to expose more people to the field.

That might have been helpful to Ricki Foster. Growing up in Jamaica, she had never seriously considered a career in aviation.

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EXCLUSIVE Boeing in talks for landmark Delta MAX order, article with image

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Delta Air Lines planes are parked at their gates at Hartsfield Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., October 27, 2020. REUTERS/Brian Snyder/File Photo

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March 18 (Reuters) – Boeing Co (BA.N) is edging towards a landmark order from Delta Air Lines (DAL.N) for up to 100 of its 737 MAX 10 jets, a model it is battling in separate talks to get approved before year-end rule changes, people familiar with the matter said.

The deal, if confirmed, would be the first order from Delta for Boeing’s best-selling single-aisle airplane family, and the first major Boeing order for the carrier in a decade.

It comes as Delta – the only major U.S. carrier without a 737 MAX on order – reshapes its fleet in anticipation of a swift recovery from the pandemic. read more

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Boeing and Delta, which have had a frayed relationship in past years, are working on details of an order that could consist of 100 aircraft, many or all of which could involve the largest variant, the 737 MAX 10, two of the people said.

If a deal is reached, an announcement could come as soon as next month, one of the people added.

Boeing and Delta declined to comment.

Industry sources cautioned negotiations typically go down to the wire and no final decision had been taken. There has been speculation about a MAX order from Delta in the past, without a deal coming to fruition.

The MAX 10 competes with Airbus’ strongest-selling model, the A321neo. Both planes are aimed at the fast-growing segment of the market just above 200 seats.

The A321neo, which leasing company Air Lease (AL.N) described on Wednesday as the “hottest airplanes in the market”, has a commanding lead in sales, but Boeing has scored a series of contract wins in the past year.

Airbus also declined to comment.

In September, Airline Weekly quoted Delta Chief Executive Ed Bastian as saying there was a place for the MAX at Delta if the carrier could figure out how to bring them in. read more

Asked about the MAX in London earlier this month, he told reporters Delta was always looking at all airplane models.

CERTIFICATION TALKS

For Boeing, which is entrenched in broader certification and industrial headaches, the deal would cement a major new customer for its cash-cow narrowbody. read more

The planemaker is facing a separate but increasingly high-stakes battle to win certification of the MAX 10 before a new safety standard on cockpit alerts takes effect at year-end.

The deadline for changes was introduced as part of broader regulatory reforms at the Federal Aviation Administration following fatal crashes of a smaller MAX model in 2018 and 2019.

Boeing has held talks with some lawmakers about the potential of asking for more time, but has not formally sought an extension to address a flight deck issue, the people said.

Asked about the possibility, an FAA spokesperson said, “safety dictates the timeline of certification projects”.

Only Congress can extend the deadline if the FAA does not certify the MAX before end-year.

Boeing has raised with some lawmakers the potential impact on jobs and production if the 737 MAX 10 is not approved, the people said.

“We continue to work transparently with the FAA to provide the information they need, and we are committed to meeting their expectations to achieve 737-10 certification,” Boeing said in an emailed statement.

It did not comment directly on any talks with lawmakers but said the jet would support “tens of thousands of jobs at Boeing and across our supply chain, including in Washington state”.

The issue is also likely to get entangled in the confirmation hearings of the next FAA administrator. Current FAA Administrator Steve Dickson is set to step down March 31.

The Seattle Times this month cited an earlier Boeing submission to the FAA citing an estimated cost of full compliance for the MAX at “more than $10 billion”.

(This story refiles to amend dateline to March 18)

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Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle, David Shepardson in Washington, and Rajesh Kumar Singh in Chicago; Editing by Tim Hepher and Jan Harvey

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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FAA chief to testify at U.S. House hearing on 5G impact on aviation safety

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5G words and an airplane toy are placed on a printed U.S. flag in this illustration taken January 18, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

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WASHINGTON, Jan 26 (Reuters) – The head of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is set to testify before a Feb. 3 U.S. House of Representatives hearing on new C-Band 5G deployment and its impact on aviation safety, sources told Reuters on Wednesday.

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is expected to hear from FAA Administrator Steve Dickson along with aviation and wireless industry officials. These include the head of Airlines for America, a trade group representing passenger and cargo airlines, and Aerospace Industries Association, which represents airplane manufacturers.

“I hope Administrator Dickson and all of our witnesses come prepared for a robust discussion about how the goal of a successful 5G deployment can co-exist with the safety of our skies,” Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio said in a statement to Reuters.

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AT&T (T.N) and Verizon Communications (VZ.N) agreed on Jan. 18 to delay switching on new telecom towers near key airports even as they turned on the new 5G C-Band service.

Radio altimeters are used to give data on height above ground for bad-weather landings and the 5G technology could cause interference, the FAA has warned.

Last week, major U.S. passenger and cargo carriers warned of a potential “catastrophic” aviation crisis and said that without a delay of 5G deployment near some airports “the vast majority of the traveling and shipping public will essentially be grounded.”

The FAA, which did not comment on Dickson’s planned testimony, said Tuesday it issued approvals for additional altimeters that allow about 90% of the U.S. commercial aviation fleet to perform low-visibility landings at airports where 5G wireless is deployed.

The FAA cleared seven additional altimeters, bringing the total approved to 20.

Verizon agreed to temporarily not turn on about 500 towers near airports, sources told Reuters, or less than 10% of their planned deployment, while the carriers and the administration work on a permanent solution.

The issue is disrupting some landings in poor weather at smaller airports especially among regional jets, and there are still serious concerns about what happens when wireless carriers turn on those towers near airports.

“We are now seeing the operational impacts to airline travel,” DeFazio said. “All interested parties must come together to address these impacts and implement long-term solutions that will increase safety and reduce disruptions for affected airports.”

Airplane models with cleared altimeters include Boeing (BA.N) 717, 737, 747, 757, 767, 777, 787 MD-10/-11; Airbus (AIR.PA) A300, A310, A319, A220, A320, A321, A330, A340, A350, A380; Embraer (EMBR3.SA) 120, 170, and 190 regional jets; All CL-600/CRJ regional jets; DHC-8 and ATR turboprops.

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Reporting by David Shepardson
Editing by Chris Reese and Richard Chang

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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