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NORTH KOREA NEWSLETTER NO. 308 (April 10, 2014)

TOPIC OF THE WEEK (Part 1) Successive finding of N.K. drones raises concerns over air defense system SEOUL (Yonhap) -- A third suspected North Korean drone was found on a mountain on South Korea's east coast on April 6, in the latest finding of a series of border incursions by North Korea's unmanned spy aircraft, raising fresh concerns over the military's shabby air defense network.

Air Canada CEO got $7.8 million compensation in 2013; airline to launch Wi-Fi

MONTREAL - Air Canada's chief executive received more than $7.8 million in compensation last year as he oversaw a dramatic turnaround in the airline's financial performance and share price.

Next generation solar plane unveiled in Switzerland

The masterminds of sun-powered plane Solar Impulse formally unveiled their new aircraft Wednesday, a year ahead of their planned round-the-world flight. Solar Impulse 2 is the successor of the original plane of the same name, which last year completed a trip across the United States without using a drop of fuel. "These two airplanes are the most energy efficient airplanes ever designed," pilot Andre Borschberg told a 500-strong audience of officials, sponsors and diplomats at Switzerland's Payerne airbase.

U.S. Navy mulls options to help drones avoid other planes

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Navy said on Tuesday it continued to examine options for a system to help Northrop Grumman Corp's new MQ-4 Triton high-altitude unmanned spy plane detect and avoid other aircraft, and expected to decide on a new approach in less than a year. The Navy last year halted work on a complex "sense and avoid" radar being developed by Exelis Inc after the company ran into technical challenges in trying to develop a system small enough to fit on the nose of the drone.

Travellers adjust on the fly as airlines change loyalty-program rules; American just the latest

DALLAS - Airline travellers are adjusting to constant turbulence in frequent-flier programs. American Airlines is the latest to tinker with its program. The Dallas-based carrier on Tuesday announced changes that make it tougher to redeem miles for a flight during busy travel periods, and to check a bag without a fee. The changes aren't as dramatic as Delta Air Lines Inc.'s recent switch to basing rewards on money spent, not miles flown, but they are just the latest example of airlines giving away less as executives increasingly focus on growing profits.

Feds seek power to break locks off passengers' checked airline baggage

OTTAWA - The Conservative government would like to know how air passengers feel about their checked luggage being broken into — by airport security screeners. Transport Canada is seeking feedback on a plan to give security screeners the power to break a padlock or seal — such as plastic shrink wrap — off a bag when an X-ray flags a concern. The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority screens all checked baggage before it is placed on a plane.

American, US Airways changing the rules for checked-bag fees and earning free flights

DALLAS - If you use miles to get a free ticket on American Airlines, you may have to pay to check that suitcase. American and US Airways announced changes Tuesday to their policies on checked-bag fees and redeeming miles for free flights. Passengers travelling on American on miles they earned or who paid full price for an economy seat won't get free checked bags anymore. Some elite-level frequent fliers on both airlines will get one less free bag than before.

British defence minister in Saudi talks

British defence minister Philip Hammond held talks in Riyadh Tuesday, just weeks after BAE Systems announced an agreement with Saudi authorities on the spiralling costs of a multi-billion-dollar fighter deal. Saudi state media gave very few details of what was discussed in Hammond's meetings with his counterpart Crown Prince Salman and National Guard Minister Prince Mitab bin Abdullah. His talks with Salman focused on "cooperation between their friendly states and means of developing and strengthening it," the official SPA news agency said.

Etihad completes health check Alitalia

Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways has completed its assessment of whether to purchase a stake in Italy's debt-laden airline Alitalia and a draft deal could be imminent, an Italian minister said on Tuesday. "The due diligence has been completed. The letters of intent are being drawn up in these days," Transport Minister Maurizio Lupi said at a Senate hearing. Italian business daily Il Sole 24 Ore also on Tuesday cited informed sources as saying that Alitalia's chief executive Gabriele del Torchio and Etihad chief James Hogan "could meet this week" to discuss the deal.

Virgin America tops US airline performance ranking

Virgin America, JetBlue and Hawaiian Airlines emerged Monday as the best-performing US air carriers in 2013, a year that generally saw improvements in air travel. Overall, airline performance "was the highest since 1991," according to the 24th annual Airline Quality Rating, compiled by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Wichita State University. There were fewer involuntary denied boardings and customer complaints compared to 2012, although performance dipped somewhat in terms of on-time arrivals and baggage handling, the study suggested.
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