Regional Jet Marks Japan’s Reentry to Commercial Market
Japan's bid to re-enter the commercial jet market took a step forward with the successful first test flight of the Mitsubishi Regional Jet in mid-November. The plane, which will be delivered in 78- and 92-seat configurations, is the first launched by a Japanese company since 1962. The country was banned from developing aircraft after its defeat in World War II. Mitsubishi Aircraft and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries will continue to conduct flight tests in advance of first delivery, which is scheduled for the second quarter of 2017. U.S. flight tests are set to start in the second quarter of 2016. The MRJ will be powered by Pratt & Whitney's PurePower PW1200G engines.
Hudson River Rail Tunnels Get Boost from Feds
Federal officials say they will fund at least half of a rail tunnel project under the Hudson River after state and federal officials agreed to create a development corporation to oversee the project. The agreement commits the federal government to fund at least 50% of the Gateway Tunnel Project. The current estimated project cost is $20 billion. The Gateway project would include two new tunnels under the Hudson River to augment two 105-year-old Amtrak tunnels. The project also would include building two new tracks between Newark and New York for a total of four tracks. Amtrak estimates the tunnels could be in service by 2030.
Airliner Tracking Advances with Frequency Allocation
Global airliner tracking came one step closer to reality after agreement was struck at the United Nations to set aside radio frequency for airplanes to report their locations to satellites. The UN's International Telecommunications Union announced that a frequency currently used to transmit aircraft signals to ground-based stations would be reallocated. The move is in response to the loss of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in March 2014.
Could Automation Threaten Millions of Jobs?
Automation threatens the livelihoods of 80 million workers in the U.S. and 15 million in the U.K. over the coming decades, says Bank of England chief economist Andy Haldane. The emergence of smart machines poses a different challenge than technological innovations of the past, Haldane says. He says that employment patterns in the U.K. in recent years tell a story of mid-skill jobs being lost, balanced by employment gains at the high-skill and, to a lesser extent, low-skill segments of the workforce, he says. The so-called hollowing out has deepened and widened as some mid-skill workers have “skilled-up” through education while others have “skilled-down," most often by taking a job for which they are overqualified.