Posts Tagged ‘Canada



08
May
10

Ash cloud shuts several airports again

NEWS
Ash cloud shuts several airports again
Ash Cloud Stalls Trans-Atlantic Flights
Saturday, May 8, 2010

Earth

••• European air traffic faces growing disruption again, with a cloud of ash spewing from an Icelandic volcano affecting flights in Spain, France and Portugal.

Hundreds of flights were cancelled on Saturday, while many trans-Atlantic services were delayed as they skirted the plume of debris from the Eyjafjoell volcano, which plunged air travel across the continent into chaos last month.

‘Ash eruptions are ongoing and the area of potential ash contamination is expanding,’ the Brussels-based European air traffic coordination agency Eurocontrol said in a statement on Saturday.

Trans-Atlantic flights, being re-routed around the area owing to different concentrations of ash particles and predicted engine tolerance levels at different altitudes, are already experiencing ‘substantial delays’, it said.

About 25,000 flights were expected to cross European skies on Saturday, well down from more than 30,000 on Friday.

‘The reduction of available airspace is also impacting flights arriving in or departing from the Iberian peninsula and delays could be expected,’ Eurocontrol said.

Spain shut down 19 airports because of the ash cloud, including Barcelona, the country’s second biggest airport, which ceased operations at 03:30pm CET (09:30 am EDT) on Saturday, national airport operator Aena said.

A total of 673 flights had already been cancelled and Aena said the closures would be in place until at least 08:00 pm UTC [GMT] on Saturday (02:00 pm EST). National airline Iberia suspended all flights to northern Spain.

In Portugal, 104 flights serving Lisbon, Oporto and Faro were cancelled on Saturday, hitting mainly low-cost airlines, airport officials and websites said.

Portuguese air traffic control said restrictions would be lifted gradually from 12:00 pm GMT (06:00 am EDT).

In France, the national weather service said the ash cloud would be covering the southern part of the country by late Saturday, with concentrations rising to 19 685.04 feet.

Meteo France official Roxane Desire could not predict if the ash would disperse before Wednesday’s opening of the Cannes film festival, when private jets in particular throng Riviera airports.

An Air France plane took off from Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport on Saturday afternoon on a flight to test ash levels, an airport source said.

Marseille airport, the main French hub for low-cost carrier Ryanair, said all that company’s flights from 02:00 pm GMT (08:00 am EDT) had been cancelled, plus two services to Lisbon, making a total of 15 flights. There were also cancellations from Bordeaux.

In Iceland itself about 60 inhabitants of the zone around the volcano have left the area voluntarily following the fresh eruptions, a civil protection agency official said on Saturday.

‘There is a lot of ash falling and the community is affected,’ Gudrun Johannesdottir told AFP, adding that authorities are monitoring the situation closely but no evacuation has been ordered.

‘The Red Cross opened centres for people needing assistance. Those leaving (the area) have to report to the Red Cross,’ she said.

Eyjafjoell began fresh and intensive ash eruptions on Thursday night and caused Ireland and the Faroe Islands to shut their airspace for a time.

Bjoern Oddsson, a geologist at the University of Iceland, said the smoke plume over the volcano had risen to seven km on Saturday and was bearing southeast.

‘The volcanic activity is similar to what it was yesterday and hasn’t increased, even though it might seem like that to the people living in the area affected by ash fall,’ he said.

The volcano began erupting on April 14 and caused travel chaos, with airspaces closed over several European nations for a week because of fears that aircraft engines would be damaged with fatal consequences.

It was the biggest aerial shutdown in Europe since World War II, with more than 100,000 flights cancelled and eight million passengers affected. The airline industry said it lost about $3.18 billion.
• Source(s): Agence France-Presse (AFP) and Euronews
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05
May
10

Ash Closes Scottish and Irish Airports

NEWS
Ash Closes Scottish and Irish Airports
Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Earth

••• Britain and Ireland have grounded flights again after a fresh cloud of ash swept in from the Icelandic volcano which sparked unprecedented air travel chaos in Europe last month.

In a second day of renewed airspace disruption on Wednesday, thousands of passengers in Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland were forced to cancel travel plans.

‘We are feeling disappointed as we were looking forward to it, and I don’t think we’ll be able to rearrange it,’ said Mabel McGeachie, 62, whose easyJet flight from Glasgow to Malaga in Spain was cancelled.

British regulators imposed a flight ban from Scottish and Northern Irish airports from 07:00 am IST (02:00 am EDT) on Wednesday for 12 hours for most affected airports, warning that high ash levels could damage plane engines.

Irish authorities, who stopped flights for several hours on Tuesday, also closed airports progressively from 06:00 am GMT (02:00 am EDT) while saying transatlantic and other planes could still fly over at higher altitudes.

‘The volcano in Iceland has expelled denser, coarser ash higher into the atmosphere,’ said the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA).

It said Dublin airport would stay closed until at least 03:00 am GMT (11:00 pm EDT[Wednesday]) on Thursday, while the southwestern airports of Cork, Kerry and Shannon were closing and would likely remain that way until mid-Thursday.

Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) added: ‘Forecasts show that levels of ash in the atmosphere over Scotland and Northern Ireland will exceed the concentrations that engine manufacturers have agreed are safe for operations.’

While the flight ban would remain in place for the rest of Wednesday, the CAA said it hoped the restrictions could be lifted on Thursday.

‘We are pretty confident that the ash plumes will start drifting west across the Atlantic and that all U.K. airspace will be clear of ash tomorrow,’ said a CAA spokesman.

‘It’s possible that if the strength of the wind picks up then some of the airports not operating at the moment might be able to handle flights later today. But it’s certainly looking good for tomorrow.’

The new shutdowns followed a closure of Irish, Northern Irish and some Scottish airspace for several hours Tuesday, causing the cancellation of hundreds of flights and travel misery for thousands of passengers.

Airspace across Europe was closed for up to a week last month after the eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjoell volcano, but was re-opened after emergency talks between European governments, airlines and regulators.

The aerial shutdown was the biggest in Europe since World War II.

In Iceland itself on Tuesday, the Eyjafjoell volcano spewed more ash than in recent days, although the level remained much lower than when the eruption began three weeks ago, an Icelandic geophysicist told AFP.

‘The plume has increased. It is black… There is more ash in the plume and it is (rising) higher,’ Sigrun Hreinsdottir of the University of Iceland in Reykjavik said on Wednesday.

Irish airline Aer Lingus said the flight ban last month had cost it about $25.70 million, while warning that ‘the final cost will depend on the actual level of customer claims.’

The Association of British Insurers estimated Tuesday that the travel chaos caused by the ash had cost insurers around $93.83 million.

Eurocontrol, the continent’s air traffic control co-ordinator, said more than 100,000 flights to, from and within Europe had been cancelled between April 15 and 21, preventing an estimated 10 million passengers from travelling.
» Check your flight information here: Ryanair, Aer Lingus, Aer Arann, easyJet, Flybe
• Source(s): U.K. Met Office, Irish Aviation Authority, Eurocontrol, Bloomberg, AFP and ITN

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04
May
10

Irish flights resume after ash cloud threat lifts

NEWS
Irish flights resume after ash cloud threat lifts

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Earth

••• Ireland and Britain re-opened their airspace on Tuesday after imposing a temporary flight ban due to the return of ash from an Icelandic volcano which paralysed Europe’s skies last month.

The authority attributed Tuesday’s six-hour shutdown in services to shifting winds that pushed ash plumes from Iceland south into Irish airspace.

However it says the latest forecasts show that ‘full operations’ can resume on Tuesday afternoon at all Irish airports.

The shutdown that began at 07:00 am IST (02:00 am EDT / 06:00 am UTC [GMT]) grounded more than 200 flights chiefly operated by airlines Ryanair and Aer Lingus.

The authority cautioned that Ireland would remain vulnerable to ash-related shutdowns.

‘Winds are forecast to continue coming from a northerly direction for the next few days and this could lead to further problems,’ it said.

Restrictions at some Irish airports from 08:00 am IST (03:00 am EDT), Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Increased volcanic activity was experience in Iceland yesterday Tuesday 4th May 2010 resulting in denser volcanic ash being expelled higher into the atmosphere.

Based on the most recent Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre and Eurocontrol data, restrictions will apply at the following airports from the times indicated.

Donegal – restricted from 08:00 am IST (03:00 am EDT) until further notice.

Sligo – restricted from 09:00 am IST (04:00 am EDT) until further notice.

Dublin – restricted from 11:00 am IST (06:00 am EDT) until further notice.

Ireland West (Knock) – restricted from 11:00 am IST (06:00 am EDT) until further notice.

Cork, Waterford and Kerry will not have restrictions imposed before 02:00 pm IST (09:00 am EDT), though restrictions after that point are likely.

No restrictions will apply to Shannon airport or Galway airport until further notice.

A further statement will be issued by 10:00 am IST (05:00 am EDT) this morning, following the receipt of updated volcanic ash data.

Airline passengers should continue to contact their airline websites to establish the up-to-date position on flight schedules.
» Check your flight information here: Ryanair, Aer Lingus, Aer Arann, easyJet, Flybe
• Source(s): U.K. Met Office, Irish Aviation Authority and Eurocontrol
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03
May
10

Ireland may have to restrict airspace due to ash

NEWS
Ireland may have to restrict airspace due to ash

Monday, May 3, 2010

Earth

••• The new ban will apply from 07:00 am to 01:00 pm IST (06:00 am – 12:00 pm GMT / 02:00 am – 08:00 am EDT) on Tuesday, May 4, 2010. » The next update will be at approximately 08:00 pm IST (07:00 pm GMT / 03:00 pm EDT).
••• Ireland may have to re-impose a flight ban in its airspace as ash from an Icelandic volcano drifts towards it, the Irish Aviation Authority said on Monday.

The body said it had ‘informed Irish-based airlines that it is concerned that Irish airports may be impacted by the drift south of the volcanic ash cloud caused by the north easterly winds’.

‘Current information from the Volcanic Ash Advice Centre (VAAC) suggests that a ‘no fly zone’ may have to be imposed over Ireland tomorrow that may affect Dublin, Shannon and some regional airports,’ it said.

Airspace across Europe was closed down for up to a week last month after the eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull, but was re-opened after emergency talks between European governments, airlines and regulators.
» Check your flight information here: Ryanair, Aer Lingus, Aer Arann, easyJet, Flybe
» Millions watch Iceland volcano online
» Predicted ash concentration charts
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28
Apr
10

Toyota Recalls 50,000 Sequoia SUVs

NEWS
Toyota Recalls 50,000 Sequoia SUVs

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

••• Toyota Motor Corp will recall about 50,000 2003-year Sequoia sport utility vehicles in the United States and Canada to fix a problem in their vehicle stability control system, the company’s U.S. sales unit said Wednesday. Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. said the recall will be conducted to adjust the VSC system, which is designed to control a loss of traction in turns as a result of front or rear tire slippage during cornering.

Without the adjustment, the VSC system could activate at low speed for a few seconds after acceleration from a stopped position, Toyota said. As a result, the vehicle may not accelerate as quickly as the driver expects, the company said, adding there have been no reported injuries or accidents as a result of this condition.

Detailed information and answers to questions are available to customers at www.toyota.com/recall and at the Toyota Customer Experience Center at 1-800-331-4331.
» See: Toyota Announces Voluntary Recall on 2003 Model-Year Sequoia to Upgrade Program Logic in Vehicle Stability Control System

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24
Apr
10

Recalls? Toyota Still Showing Profit

NEWS
Recalls? Toyota Still Showing Profit

Saturday, April 24, 2010

••• Results from Toyota Motor to be released next month are expected to show the auto giant returning to profit in the year to March, despite a massive recall scandal, news reports say.

The Japanese automaker is expected to post a group operating profit of up to 50 billion yen ($531.75 million), reversing a 461 billion yen ($4.90 billion) operating loss for the previous year, the Nikkei business daily said on Saturday.

The uptick is mainly due to cost-cutting and a weak yen, which offset the costs of the global recalls, the daily said.

The company has recalled around 10 million vehicles worldwide since late last year due to accelerator and brake defects, but nevertheless expected to see a ‘good earnings situation’ a Toyota executive told Kyodo News.

Toyota had earlier forecast an operating loss of 20 billion yen ($212.7 million) for the year to the end of March.

Sales were expected to show a five percent fall to 7.2 million units, Nikkei said. The better-than-expected sales were partially due to strong demand for its new Prius hybrid car in Japan.

A Toyota spokesman was not immediately available to comment on the report.

The firm is due to announce its earnings results in early May.

On Monday the company agreed to pay a $16.4 million fine, the largest for an automaker in the United States, for hiding for at least four months accelerator pedal defects blamed in more than 50 U.S. deaths.

Toyota faces at least 97 U.S. lawsuits seeking damages for injury or death linked to sudden acceleration and 138 class action lawsuits from American customers suing to recoup losses in the resale value of Toyota vehicles.

The company overtook General Motors in 2008 as the world’s top automaker, but the safety recalls raised questions over whether it sacrificed quality to become number one.
• Source(s): Toyota Motor Corporation & Nikkei Inc.
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21
Apr
10

Airlines edge slowly back to ‘business as usual’

NEWS
Airlines edge slowly back to ‘business as usual’

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Earth

Europe’s airspace reopened for business as Iceland’s volcano lost its fury Wednesday, leaving passengers scrambling to get home and recriminations flying over the $US1.7 billion cost of the crisis.

Three-quarters of flights scheduled in Europe were on track to fly, said the body coordinating air traffic across the continent, a week after a volcanic eruption in Iceland caused the worst disruption to aviation since World War II.

While experts in Iceland said the Eyjafjjoell volcano had lost most of its intensity, airline bosses were frantically adding up the cost of the crisis which their umbrella body said had cost $US400 million a day at its peak.

All of Europe’s main air hubs were up and running on Wednesday and the Europe-wide coordinating body Eurocontrol said it expected some 21,000 flights to take place in European airspace, against a typical 28,000.

In Europe’s far north, Helsinki in Finland and airspace over the remote Scottish isles of Orkney and Shetland were temporarily reclosed due to still unsafe ash levels.

But Iceland’s other Nordic neighbours Norway, Denmark and Sweden lifted the last of their flight restrictions in a sign the worst of the threat had faded.

Millions had their travel plans affected since governments closed their airspace last Thursday and IATA, the body representing the global airline industry, put the overall cost at $US1.7 billion.

European governments ‘must take their responsibility’ and help the carriers, said IATA chief Giovanni Bisignani.

British Airways chief executive Willie Walsh had branded the ban unnecessary, with the disruption heaping more misery on an airline reeling from a recent strike.

Flights were finally cleared for landing at London’s Heathrow airport on Tuesday night, but BA flew around two dozen long-haul planes back to Britain even before the no-fly zone was lifted.

Some were initially turned away and forced to land at other airports but there were scenes of jubilation on other planes when pilots announced they had been cleared to land at Heathrow, Europe’s busiest airport.

British opposition leader David Cameron – who is challenging Labour leader Gordon Brown for the premiership next month – called for a public inquiry into the ‘muddle and confusion’ in the government’s handling of the crisis.

British Airways said they were hoping to operate all longhaul flights from Heathrow and Gatwick as normal Wednesday.

Wolfgang Mayrhuber, the head of Lufthansa, said his firm expected to operate around 500 flights, a third of its normal service.

Dutch airline KLM expected to resume all inter-continental flights to and from Amsterdam’s Schiphol, and about 70 percent of flights in Europe.

All long-haul passenger services from Paris’ main international hub Charles de Gaulle were operating as scheduled, airport officials said, while Air France said it had flown 40,000 stranded people back home since Tuesday.

Emirates said it was trying to operate as many flights as possible but added that ‘passengers are asked to be patient’.

There was light at the end of the tunnel for Europeans stuck in Asia with airlines such Air China announcing all its Europe flights would be departing.

But Frances Tuke, a spokeswoman for the British travel organisation Abta, warned passengers against getting their hopes up.

‘I know for example that some of our tour operators have decided to cancel their programs going out of the UK in order that they can try to reposition their aircraft and crew,’ she said. ‘It’s a huge logistical operation.’

Passengers trying to catch a flight at Heathrow were still in the dark about when their ordeal would end.

‘It has been impossible to know when our flights would leave so we have been stuck waiting and wondering,’ said Veronique David, 42-year-old French nurse, huddled in a green fleece blanket given to people who spent the night there.

She was hoping to get back to Paris after being stranded in San Francisco since last Thursday with a group that was shunted from hotel to hotel and spent one night wandering around the airport.

‘It has certainly been an unforgettable holiday,’ she said.

In Iceland, the civil protection agency said the volcano had lost nearly 80 per cent of its intensity.

‘Explosive activity has diminished. Ash production has gone down. It’s really insignificant right now,’ said Pall Einarsson, a seismologist from Iceland’s Institute of Earth Sciences.

Einarsson however said the volcano had ‘not gone to sleep’ and that it was impossible to predict when it would stop erupting.

As recriminations flew, a vulcanologist advising the United Nations said European authorities had no choice but to close their airspace for lack of hard facts about aircraft behaviour in volcanic ash.

Closure to air traffic ‘was the only measure that could be taken,’ said Henry Gaudru, president of the European Vulcanological Society.
» Millions watch Iceland volcano online
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20
Apr
10

Flights start to resume in Europe

NEWS
Flights start to resume in Europe

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Earth

••• Britain’s first flight since European governments eased airspace restrictions left Scotland early on Tuesday, but there were new warnings of a fresh cloud of volcanic ash heading this way.

Initial plans to resume flights from London later in the day were shelved, but Prime Minister Gordon Brown said airlines were seizing the chance to fly passengers into and out of the country.

‘We are taking advantage of the window of opportunity, but our first priority is that passengers will always be safe,’ he said, adding: ‘We know that further volcanic ash will be in the clouds over the next day or two.’

The first flight took off from Glasgow airport for Stornoway, in the Outer Hebrides, at 7.15am GMT, 15 minutes after Scottish airspace reopened.

U.S. businessman Jim Welsh was hopeful as he checked in, ironically, for a flight to Iceland, where the volcanic eruption occurred last week.

‘I’m thrilled I can get this flight. I’m planning on getting a flight to Boston from Iceland,’ said the 52-year-old.

‘I was in London for business and I was supposed to leave Heathrow on Thursday. I travelled by train to Glasgow on Thursday night but couldn’t get on the flights leaving here on Friday,’ he said.

Under relentless pressure from airlines who have lost more than a billion dollars from the crisis so far, E.U. transport ministers agreed to ease restrictions from Tuesday.

On Monday, the National Air Traffic Services (NATS), which manages British airspace, gave the go-ahead for the Scottish reopening and said more airspace over England may become available from about 12:00 GMT.

But on Tuesday it signalled tighter restrictions, saying parts of Scottish airspace including Aberdeen, Inverness and Edinburgh airports would be available from 12:00 – 18:00 GMT.

Flights would also take off from Newcastle airport in northeast England. But restrictions would remain in place for the rest of Britain for airspace below 20,000 feet.

Brown rejected suggestions that authorities were being too cautious.

‘I understand the inconvenience that this is causing,’ he said.

But he added: ‘I think everybody knows when you have volcanic ash in the atmosphere it creates a danger for the planes. All the advice is that we have got to be absolutely vigilant about how and when you are now flying.’
European Union transport ministers held emergency talks in Brussels in a bid to resolve the massive disruption caused by the volcanic ash cloud blowing across the continent. This came as Switzerland extended a ban on commercial flights to Tuesday.

Click here for the latest status of disruptions across the continent The International Air Transport Association has sharply criticised European governments for their lack of leadership in handling the airspace restrictions.

“This is a European embarrassment and it’s a European mess,” said the association’s director general, Giovanni Bisignani.

All the major airports in Western Europe remained close but authorities in Sweden, Romania, Croatia and the Czech Republic announced the resumption of flights.

The closure of most of Europe’s airspace since late last Thursday has cost the airline industry hundreds of millions of dollars.

With air traffic officials still designating much of the continent a virtual no-fly zone, airlines were urging a rethink of airspace restrictions as test flights showed no problems.

French Ecology Minister Jean-Louis Borloo however said the test flights were not steps towards reopening European airspace.

“We do tests and everything goes back to normal? No. It’s not a theory which exists.”

Despite the row, an Icelandic seismologist said Monday the volcanic eruption has “diminished markedly” and now is spewing far less ash.

British Transport Secretary Andrew Adonis said European and international agencies were in urgent talks to try to ease the chaos.

“We want to be able to resume flights as soon as possible, but safety remains my paramount concern,” he said.

E.U. Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso said he had ordered a full study to assess the impact of the situation created by the volcanic ash cloud on the economy, and the air travel industry in particular.
» Millions watch Iceland volcano online
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19
Apr
10

Europe air traffic to resume soon

NEWS
Europe air traffic to resume soon

Monday, 19 April 2010

Earth

••• European air traffic is expected to return to normal on Thursday, after a week of cancellations and disruption due to the ash cloud from an Icelandic volcano.

‘If things continue to look like now and the volcano will not spread ashes to Europe we’re probably back to normal operations by Thursday,’ said Bo Redeborn, director of Eurocontrol, which coordinates air traffic control across Europe.

‘If 30 percent of flights were operated today, maybe we can expect another 10 to 15 per cent to come back during tomorrow, and maybe another 10-15 percent the day after,’ he said on Monday after E.U. transport ministers agreed to ease air space restrictions which have hit airlines and their passengers since Thursday last week.
Redeborn said there would still be a no-fly zone, where the volcanic cloud is deemed to be at dangerous concentrations for jet engines.

The Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre will issue maps every six hours showing where the no-fly zones are, as the ash cloud moves around.

If a high concentration is found above an airport, then it must be closed and no air traffic allowed through the area, the Eurocontrol official said.

Eurocontrol, the European organisation for the safety of air navigation, is made up of 38 nations across the continent.

Eruptions from the Eyjafjallajökull volcano are weaker than they were at the weekend but eruptions still take ash over 10,000ft at times. Weather patterns continue to blow areas of ash towards the U.K.

The Met Office is the North-west European Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre with responsibility for issuing the Volcanic Ash Advisories for volcanoes erupting in this area. This means the Met Office’s priority and role is to support NATS, CAA and other aviation authority’s decision-making.

It is for the aviation industry and regulator to set thresholds for safe ash ingestion. Currently, world-wide advice from ICAO is based on engine and airframe manufacturers stating that aircraft should not be exposed to any volcanic ash.

Met Office and NERC observations are consistent with Met Office model forecasts for spread of ash over U.K. and north-west Europe and NATS are continuing to advise restrictions on U.K. airspace until Tuesday morning.

As the volcanic activity changes, there may be some clearance of ash at times, over parts of the U.K. We will be looking to provide timely advice about when these opportunities might happen.

The Met Office is unable to advise of any details of any flights. However, many airlines are providing information on their websites.
» Millions watch Iceland volcano online
• Source(s): EUROCONTROL, Met Office U.K. & ITN
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19
Apr
10

Toyota recalls 9,400 2010 Lexus GX 460 SUV in North America

NEWS
Toyota recalls 9,400 2010 Lexus GX 460 SUV in North America

Tuesday, April 19, 2010

••• After duplicating a leading consumer magazine’s tests that showed its 2010 Lexus GX 460 sports-utility vehicle may be susceptible to rolling over, Toyota Motor (TM) will recall the luxury SUV to fix the potential safety problem, it said Monday.

The company will voluntarily recall about 9,400 of the vehicles to update their electronic stability control software. Known as VSC, the system helps control the SUV during a loss of traction that can occur as a result of front or rear wheel slippage during cornering.

▪ A message from Mark Templin, Lexus Group Vice President and General Manager
“Since it was launched more than 20 years ago, Lexus has built its reputation on customer respect and concern for safety. With the news from Consumer Reports that our 2010 GX 460 did not pass its “Throttle Lift-Off” test, we immediately stopped selling the vehicle and commenced vigorous testing to identify and correct the issue.

Today, I’m happy to announce that we have developed a remedy that will be quickly implemented to help address customer concerns. We will be voluntarily recalling all 2010 GX 460s that have been sold in order to update the Vehicle Stability Control system. We will begin implementing this program in the next two weeks and our dealers will be reaching out to customers shortly to set up appointments to make this modification.

Lexus is confident that the update will make the performance of the GX even better for our customers.

As announced earlier, we will provide a courtesy vehicle to anyone who has purchased a 2010 GX 460 and has concerns about driving it until the recall work has been completed.

Customers who have any questions or concerns should contact their local Lexus dealer or Lexus Customer Satisfaction at 1-800-25LEXUS or 1-800-255-3987 or at www.lexus.com/recall.”

Toyota said owners of affected models will begin receiving notices in early May. The company will provide loaners to vehicle owners who don’t wish to drive them before the recall work has been completed.

The recall follows a report last week by Consumer Reports magazine, which discovered in road tests that the GX 460 could roll over during certain maneuvers, such as decelerating onto a highway exit ramp. The nonprofit publication determined the problem was severe enough to warrant a “don’t buy” warning, its first such rating on a vehicle in almost a decade.

When subjected to a standard track test involving driving the vehicle through a turn as the driver lifts his foot off the accelerator, the rear of the GX 460 slid out until it was almost sideways before the electronic stability control system was able to regain control, Consumer Reports said last week. In a real world situation, such a control failure might cause the the vehicle to hit a curb or the side of the road, leading it to flip over.

After Consumer Reports published its findings on April 13, Toyota halted sales and production of the GX 460 and began its own tests. On Friday, Toyota said it had duplicated the problem that Consumer Reports encountered with the vehicle’s electronic stability control system.

Toyota has struggled with quality and safety issues in recent months. It recalled millions of vehicles last fall for uncontrolled acceleration problems believed to be associated with bulky rubber floor mats. Other recalls soon followed, including one for sticky gas pedals, which led to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration fining Toyota a maximum $16.4 million for failing to act quickly enough in notifying the agency of the problem.

On Monday, Toyota agreed to pay the fine, but denied any wrongdoing. Toyota said that while executives could have done a better job of sharing information, both within and outside the company, “We did not try to hide a defect to avoid dealing with a safety problem.”

▪ Lexus Canada has announced a voluntary safety recall affecting 2010 model year GX 460 vehicles to update software in the vehicle’s Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) system

Toronto, ON – April 19, 2010 – Toyota Canada Inc. has announced a voluntary safety recall affecting approximately 446 2010 model year GX 460 vehicles to update software in the vehicle’s Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) system.

Toyota’s vehicle and design evaluation objective is to meet or exceed customer expectations and regulatory requirements. Toyota’s engineering team undertook similar tests to confirm the issue raised by Consumer Reports on April 13, 2010 and we are confident that an update to the VSC software addresses the concern.

All Canadian Lexus dealers will have the VSC software update by end of April. Letters will be sent to owners included in this recall in early May.

No other Toyota or Lexus vehicles are involved in this recall.

• Customers who have any further questions are asked to visit www.lexus.ca or contact Lexus Canada at 1-800-265-3987.

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19
Apr
10

Volcanic Ash could hit Canadian coast Monday; Inside Iceland’s apocalypse wow

NEWS
Volcanic Ash could hit Canadian coast Monday; Inside Iceland’s apocalypse wow

Monday, 19 April 2010

Earth

••• Volcanic ash from last week’s eruption in Iceland could hit the eastern coast of Canada later on Monday, forecasters at Britain’s Met Office said.

Forecast charts show the ash could touch Canada from about 12:00 GMT and forecaster Bob Syvret told AFP: ‘It does suggest that the remnants of the volcanic plume may be appearing near the Newfoundland area.’

He said this was likely the remnants of the first eruption on Wednesday, which has been carried over on an area of high pressure.

The Met Office is working closely with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and National Air Traffic Services (NATS), and because of the ongoing volcanic activity U.K. airspace has now been closed until 1 am GMT Tuesday.

Eruptions from the Eyjafjallajökull volcano are weakening but, for the time being, weather patterns continue to blow volcanic ash towards the U.K.

Met Office and NERC observations are consistent with Met Office model forecasts for spread of ash over U.K. and north-west Europe. The Met Office commissioned NERC Dornier flight yesterday observed volcanic ash over the UK as far south as Southern England. An international effort is now in progress to coordinate the gathering of additional observational data.

The Met Office is the North-west European Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre with responsibility for issuing the Volcanic Ash Advisories for volcanoes erupting in this area. This means the Met Office’s priority and role is to support NATS, CAA and other aviation authority’s decision-making. It is for the aviation industry and regulator to set thresholds for safe ash ingestion. NATS are continuing to advise restrictions on U.K. airspace until Tuesday morning.

We will continue to offer advice to NATS about the spread of any residual ash. Assuming the volcanic activity continues to weaken, we can expect ash clearance across the U.K. and we will be looking for the earliest opportunity that this might happen.

The Met Office is unable to advise of any details of any flights. However, many airlines are providing information on their websites.
• Source(s): U.K. Met Office, SkyNews & ITN

» Millions watch Iceland volcano online
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15
Apr
10

Mazda Recall Adds To Japan’s Car Woes

NEWS
Mazda Recall Adds To Japan’s Car Woes

Thursday, April 15, 2010

••• Japan’s Mazda Motor will recall nearly 90,000 passenger cars domestically and in China due to an oil hose defect, the company said on Thursday.

The company, which is part owned by U.S. auto giant Ford, will start recalling 35,181 units in Japan and some 54,000 in China of the Mazda 3, known as the Axela in Japan, the automaker’s most popular model.

Mazda said the cars, produced from January 2006 to March 2009, have been recalled because an oil hose and a radiator shroud panel have been placed too close together and may be damaged by friction when travelling on bumpy terrain, leading to potential leaks.

‘The company has received two cases of complaints due to the problem, both in China,’ said a Mazda spokesman who asked not to be named.

‘No accident because of it has been reported.’

The Mazda 3 compact car is widely sold in Japan, China and Europe, said the spokesman, who added that no decision had yet been taken if the recall will affect the European market.
Japanese car maker Toyota has suspended worldwide sales of the Lexus GX 460 sport utility vehicle due to a roll-over risk, saying it will test all its SUVs for safety.

‘The company has decided to suspend the SUV’s sales worldwide …,’ Toyota spokeswoman Mieko Iwasaki said on Thursday.

The move comes a day after Toyota suspended sales of the GX in the U.S. and Canada after U.S. magazine Consumer Reports gave the SUV a rare ‘Don’t Buy: Safety Risk’ rating.

The report claimed that when pushed to its limits, the rear of the GX ‘slid out until the vehicle was almost sideways before the electronic stability control system was able to regain control’.

Having now suspended the SUV’s sales worldwide, Toyota said it will work on analysing potential safety risks in the model which has sold 6000 units, as well as its other SUVs.

Toyota will start testing all the other SUV models, including the Land Cruiser, Land Cruiser Prado and Rav4 but the company will continue to sell those models.

The car maker has recalled millions of vehicles worldwide since late 2009, mostly over a series of problems linked to ‘unintended acceleration’.

Toyota, which overtook General Motors in 2008 as the top-selling car maker, has been bedevilled by a series of safety issues that have raised questions about whether it sacrificed its legendary quality to become world number one.

The recalls have caused an outcry in the U.S., with Toyota executives hauled over the coals in the US Congress and the company’s previously stellar reputation for safety left in tatters.

The company faces a record $16.4 million fine in the U.S. for its failure to notify authorities quickly about vehicle safety problems.

• Customers who have any questions or concerns should contact Lexus Customer Satisfaction at 1-800-25 LEXUS or 1-800-255-3987.

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