Christine Romans on a new report showing the U.S. airlines that receive the most and the least customer complaints.
It’s a big day today for the FAA. The agency will announce which air traffic control towers will be shut down. Dozens across the country will be locked up and left because of the forced budget cuts.
CNN’S Rene Marsh is at one of the airports that will be impacted in Frederick, Maryland with more details. “Frederick is one of 238 towers at small and medium airports the FAA may close because of forced spending cuts,” Marsh reports. Marsh speaks to Mamie Ambrose, a Navy Veteran who has been clearing pilots for take off and landing for the past 11 years. “While airports will remain open, she says closing towers affects safety.”
FROM CNN WIRES:
A storm that set snowfall records in Chicago arrived in Washington, D.C. early Wednesday. It has triggered over 1,000 flight cancellations to and from airports in its path.
Just west of the nation's capital, it could dump up to 20 inches of snow but may turn into a mix of rain and snow as it nears the Atlantic Ocean, the National Weather Service said.
The federal government has closed offices for Wednesday. Emergency personnel will be expected to work as well as those equipped to work from home. D.C. schools will also be closed.
Washington suburb Arlington, Virginia, has readied snow plows and trucks in case of major snowfall.
Airlines have canceled flights to and from Washington's Dulles airport ahead of the storm's arrival. United has canceled 650 flights nationwide, most of them involving Dulles, U.S. Airways 350 and American 20.
This morning on "Early Start," CNN's Shannon Travis reports on the latest in how the winter storm is wreaking havoc on travel.
READ MORE: Snow storm that plastered Chicago reaches DC
(CNN) - A small plane crashed in east Georgia on Wednesday night, leaving five people dead, authorities said.
The light jet aircraft landed at Thomson-McDuffie Regional Airport in Thomson, and ran off the end of the runway, according to Kathleen Bergen, a Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman.
Two people survived the crash and were rushed to a hospital, McDuffie County Sheriff Logan Marshall told CNN affiliate WJBF.
The flight took off from John C. Tune Airport in Nashville, Tennessee.
The two cities are about 350 miles apart; Thomson is about 30 miles west of Augusta.
The aircraft is a Hawker Beechcraft 390/Premier I.
This morning on "Early Start," CNN's Victor Blackwell has the latest on the crash.
READ MORE: Small plane crashes in eastern Georgia, killing 5
Christine Romans on the proposed merger between American Airlines and U.S. Airways, creating the world's largest airline.
CNN's Zain Asher reports on the latest flight cancellations in advance of a blizzard on the East Coast.
Christine Romans on merger talks American Airlines and U.S. Airways, which would create the largest airline in the world.
Christine Romans look at how grounding Boeing 787 Dreamliner planes could affect the company's bottom line and drag down the markets.
American Airlines and its passengers continue to face a trail of troubles this morning. More flights have been cancelled, leaving planes and passengers motionless on the ground, and forcing ticket-holders to make alternative travel arrangements.
Forty-eight Boeing 757’s have been called in for maintenance after passenger seats came loose on three different flights. The airline believes the reason for the malfunction is something called a “seat lock plunger”. CNN’s George Howell comes to “Early Start” this morning to explain the details.
A seat lock plunger is “basically a lock and pin system,” Howell says. American Airlines told CNN affiliate WFAA that “it came down to soft drinks, came to cokes and coffee, that had spilled and over time that contributed to the wear and tear of the system,” Howell reports. Eventually the spills caused the seat lock plungers to go into the unlocked position and come loose on three flights within a week’s time. American Airlines is now working on 48 of these 757 planes to “retrofit them with another mechanism to keep these seats affixed to the floor.”
It's not often that we get to reference "Star Wars" on the show, but when engineers say they're going to test an unmanned aircraft and have it fly at five times the speed of sound, it just seems appropriate.
This morning on "Early Start," CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr explained why engineers and geeks are excited about the Air Force's unmanned hypersonic test flight of the X-51A "Waverider" aircraft off the coast of California today.
Aerospace engineers are hoping they can keep the aircraft flying for five minutes at Mach 6, or about 4,500 miles per hour...five times the speed of sound. That's fast enough to fly from New York to London in less than an hour. If the test flight is successful, it could usher in the next generation of missiles, military aircraft, spacecraft and maybe even passenger planes.
Starr says the Pentagon believes this is the kind of military technology that would give the U.S. an advantage. The practical applications can be related to recent examples. Starr relates it to one operation in 1998, when the government used Tomahawk missiles to attack a camp they believed Osama Bin Laden was training at. By the time they arranged everything to send to the target, Bin Laden was long gone. Starr explains that this type of flight would compresses military decision making time to within minutes.
With the Waverider test, the Air Force wants to see if this type of flight is feasible. If it is, the U.S. military could be looking at putting missiles and potentially troops on target within minutes and hours.
See Starr's report on "Early Start" this morning in the video above.
"Early Start with John Berman and Christine Romans" airs weekdays from 5-6am ET on CNN. Check in regularly for news, show updates and a little bit of fun.