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Friday, November 28, 2014

AviTrader Daily Aviation News Alert

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Emirates reject Delta’s apology regarding Anderson’s 9/11 comments

February 20, 2015 · 556 Views

The bitter dispute between US- and Gulf-based airlines has reached a new level after Emirates flatly rejected an open apology made concerning what was seen as incredibly tactless and insensitive remarks made by Delta’s Chief Executive, Richard Anderson. The unfortunate incident relates back to comments made by a group of American airlines that a number of the larger Gulf carriers had benefited from state subsidies amounting to a figure in excess of US$40bn. As a consequence the American airlines either wanted to renegotiate or scrap the current Open Skies agreement.
Offended by such claims, the Gulf carriers retaliated by questioning whether or not US airlines had received government subsidies totaling US$5bn in the wake of 9/11. Unfortunately Delta’s Anderson, responding to this claim on CNN, said: “It’s a great irony to have the United Arab Emirates from the Arabian Peninsula talk about that, given the fact that our industry was really shocked by the terrorism of 9/11, which came from terrorists from the Arabian Peninsula.” While the UAE and Qatar, two of the States’ allies who have offered either military or logistical support for international operations were particularly upset by these comments, Delta simply made it clear that Anderson had been responding to claims regarding post 9/11 subsidies. “He didn’t mean to suggest the Gulf carriers or their governments are linked to the 9/11 terrorists. We apologize if anyone was offended.”
Unfortunately the largest of the three main Gulf carriers did not see this as acceptable. “We believe that the statements made this week by Mr. Anderson were deliberately crafted and delivered for specific effect,” it confirmed in a statement. However US airlines continue to complain that they have lost significant numbers of bookings since 2008 as a result of Gulf competition and cited documents they indicate demonstrate aid which has allowed their competitors to offer cheap fares. In retaliation, Gulf officials say that most US carriers do not fly the same routes and are losing business only because they offer an inferior service.
This is not a dissimilar situation to the one between Gulf airlines and European carriers, including Lufthansa, and coincidentally has come at the same time as US airlines are trying to have US Exlm Bank closed down. They believe Gulf carriers are benefitting to a greater degree from the export credit agency. The tit-for-tat dialog continues with Western airlines showing concern for the safety of thousands of service industry jobs, a complaint to which Gulf carriers have responded by making it very clear they support at least as many jobs in the aerospace sector with their huge orders for aircraft.

Snecma and HAL to create joint venture and build a new production facility in India

February 20, 2015 · 655 Views

Snecma (Safran), a leading manufacturer of aircraft engines, and Hindustan Aeronautics  (HAL), a leading aerospace manufacturer, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on January 28th, 2015 in Bangalore to explore establishing a joint venture in India for the production of aero-engine parts.  The proposed joint venture will initially focus on the manufacture of high-tech parts for the Dassault Rafale’s Snecma M88 engine, then subsequently contribute to other major aerospace projects of HAL & Snecma, in India and worldwide. Spanning over 30,000 m², the proposed joint venture’s new plant is expected to benefit from substantial investment by the two partners, providing it with state-of-the-art machinery and equipment. This agreement marks a major step forward in the long-standing collaboration between Snecma and HAL. The proposed joint venture will further broaden the scope of the excellent relations established over the past 60 years between Safran affiliates and the Indian aerospace industry. For example, Snecma manufactures the M53 engines powering the Mirage 2000H “Vajra” fighters operated by the Indian Air Force.

Design flaws led to 787 battery fire

December 2, 2014 · 197 Views

On the 7th January 2013 a fire was reported on board a Boeing 787 Dreamliner while parked at Boston’s airport in the USA. The fire was put down to a problem with one of the plane’s lithium-ion batteries. A week later an All Nippon Airways 787 Dreamliner had to make an emergency landing after smoke was discovered inside the plane which was subsequently traced back to another lithium-ion battery. As a consequence of this incident, all 787 Dreamliners were grounded until April of that year until further acceptable testing and improvements were carried out to the battery system on board the plane. The battery itself was manufactured by GS Yuasa and comprised eight individual cells making up a combined weight of 63lbs.
Nearly two years later and the results of the investigation into the first incident have concluded that the lithium-ion battery installed in the plane should not have received certification by the FAA. The National Transport Safety Board (NTSB) were also critical of Boeing who they believed had erroneously ruled out the chances of thermal runaway in its assessment of the battery’s safety. Boeing’s battery tests to obtain original certification included crushing battery cells, driving nails through them and deliberately introducing short circuits to cause failure. Boeing found “nothing adverse happened” while these tests were carried out, and so deemed the battery’s box and internal protection to be of an acceptable standard. Boeing stated that it had followed the certification process set out by the FAA. It would seem that while the cause of the fire has been clearly identified, responsibility for its occurrence has not been accepted in full by anyone.

Rolls-Royce forced to axe 2,600 jobs after second profit warning this year

November 5, 2014 · 164 Views

Back in February this year, Rolls-Royce, the FTSE-100 engine maker, lost over £3bn of its value after shocking the market with its first profits warning in a decade. To announce a second one this October has created considerable concern and Rolls-Royce has decided that over the next 18 months they need to reduce costs by up to £80m a year by axing 2,600 jobs, the majority of which will be in the aerospace sector in Britain and the United States. The focus is on Rolls-Royce’s key Trent engines as they move from the development to the production phase, which consequently requires fewer engineers.
Back in February John Rishton, Rolls-Royce group’s Chief Executive, had admitted that the future was “bumpier than I had expected”, while blaming the current problems on deteriorating economic conditions and a tit-for-tat trade war between the EU and Russia over the Ukrainian crisis which had affected its nuclear and energy business as well as its power-systems unit. This week Rishton has had to admit that “We are taking determined management action and accelerating our progress on cost. The measures announced today will not be the last; however they will contribute towards Rolls-Royce becoming a stronger and more profitable company.”
Another consequence of the situation is the unexpected departure of Finance Director, Mark Morris, leaving the company after 27 year without any explanation. He will be replaced by David Smith, who is being promoted from Finance Director of the Rolls-Royce Aerospace division. This second profit warning saw share value fall 11% to 832p, wiping a further £2bn off the company’s value. However, news of the redundancies was well received by investors and the share price rallied by 2%, currently standing at 832p. This is clear confirmation of comments made by Espirito Santo’s analyst, Ed Stacey, who indicated that investors would be expecting a clear message from the new Finance Director and tight control on all finances.

Air France-KLM selects GEnx engines for Boeing 787 fleet

March 25, 2014 · 113 Views

Air France-KLM selected the GEnx-1B engine to power its 25 Boeing 787 Dreamliners and 12 leased 787 aircraft. The total engine order is valued at more than $1.7bn. Air France-KLM and GE Aviation have also signed an agreement that will allow Air France-KLM to offer maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services for the GEnx-1B engine. Under this agreement, Air France-KLM will be licensed to perform maintenance and overhaul work on the GEnx-1B engine and GE will provide technical support and assistance on overhaul workscoping and component repair licenses, comprehensive material support and training.

ILFC closes $1.5bn senior secured term loan

March 7, 2014 · 80 Views

International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC) has closed a new senior secured term loan of $1.5 billion. The loan will bear interest at LIBOR plus 275 basis points with a 0.75% LIBOR floor, is priced at 99.5% of par value, and will mature in 2021. The collateral used to support the transaction has an initial weighted average age of 9.1 years. It will be secured primarily by a first priority-perfected lien on the equity of certain of ILFC’s subsidiaries, which directly or indirectly own a pool of aircraft and related leases. ILFC plans to use the proceeds for general corporate purposes, including purchasing aircraft and supporting the company’s liquidity cushion.

Airbus Commercial reports another year of financial improvement

February 26, 2014 · 80 Views

In 2013, Airbus achieved a new industry record of 1,619 gross commercial orders (FY 2012: 914 gross orders) with net orders of 1,503 aircraft (FY 2012: 833 net orders), excluding ATR. Gross orders comprised 1,253 A320 Family aircraft, 77 A330s, 239 A350 XWBs and 50 A380s. Fourth-quarter orders included Emirates Airline’s agreement for 50 A380s and Etihad Airways’ order for 50 A350 XWBs, 36 A320neos and one A330-200F. Airbus Military (now part of Airbus Defence and Space) received 17 net orders (FY 2012: 32 net orders). Airbus’ net order intake increased sharply to €202.3bn (FY 2012: €88.9bn). At the end of 2013, Airbus’ consolidated order book was valued at €647.4bn (year-end 2012: €525.5bn). The Airbus Commercial backlog was worth €627.1bn (year-end 2012: €505.3bn), comprising 5,559 Airbus aircraft (year-end 2012: 4,682 units) and representing over eight years of production. Airbus Military’s order book was worth €20.8bn (year-end 2012: €21.1bn). Airbus series aircraft deliveries increased to 626 aircraft (FY 2012: 588 aircraft, including three A330s without revenue recognition). Airbus Military delivered 31 aircraft (FY 2012: 29 aircraft). Airbus’ consolidated revenues increased seven percent to €42,012m (FY 2012: €39,273m), reflecting higher commercial and military aircraft deliveries. The Division’s consolidated EBIT rose to €1,710m (FY 2012: €1,252m). Airbus Commercial’s revenues rose to €39,889m (FY 2012: €37,624m). The Airbus Commercial reported EBIT was €1,595m (FY 2012: €1,147m) with the EBIT before one-off at €2,216m (FY 2012: €1,669m). Airbus Commercial’s EBIT before one-off benefitted from the improved operational performance, including favourable volume, some better pricing and an improvement in A380 losses. It also included higher A350 XWB programme support costs. Revenues at Airbus Military rose to €2,893m (FY 2012: €2,131m), driven by the A400M ramp-up and higher volumes from both light and medium transport planes and tankers. The EBIT at Airbus Military was €166m (FY 2012: €93m).

Boeing Commercial Airplanes reports full year revenue of $53bn

January 29, 2014 · 76 Views

Boeing Commercial Airplanes fourth-quarter revenue increased to $14.7bn and full-year revenue increased to a record $53bn on higher delivery volume. Fourth-quarter operating margin improved to 10.3% and full-year operating margin grew to 10.9% on the higher volume, favorable delivery mix and continued strong operating performance. During the quarter, the company launched the 777X with 259 orders and commitments. During the year, the 787 program completed first flight of the 787-9, successfully launched the 787-10 and began operating at a 10 per month production rate in final assembly. The 737 program delivered at a record production rate of 38 per month and has won nearly 1,800 firm orders for the 737 MAX since launch. In 2013, a record 648 commercial aircraft were delivered. In January 2014, the company reached an eight-year contract extension through 2024 with the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers District 751 (IAM). Commercial Airplanes booked 465 net orders during the quarter and 1,355 during the year. Backlog remains strong with 5,080 airplanes valued at a record $374 billion.

A350 XWB in Bolivia for high altitude testing

January 9, 2014 · 67 Views

The A350 XWB development aircraft, MSN3, is in Bolivia where it will perform a series of tests at the high altitude airfields of Cochabamba and La Paz. Cochabamba is around 8,300 feet above sea level, and La Paz is one of the world’s highest airports at 13,300 feet. Operations at such high altitude airfields are particularly demanding on aircraft engines, Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) and systems. The aim of these trials is to demonstrate and validate the full functionality of engines, systems, materials as well as to assess the overall aircraft behaviour under these extreme conditions. A number of take-offs with all engines operating and with simulated engine failures are being performed at each of the airfields to collect data on engine operating characteristics and validate the aircraft take-off performance. The autopilot behaviour will also be evaluated during automatic landings and go-arounds. Since the A350 XWB’s first flight with MSN1 on June 14th 2013, over 800 flight test hours have been performed in close to 200 test flights by both MSN1 and MSN3. In total the A350 XWB flight test campaign will accumulate around 2,500 flight hours with the fleet of five aircraft. The rigorous flight testing will lead to the certification of the A350-900 by the European EASA and US FAA airworthiness authorities, prior to entry into service in Q4 2014.

Firefly welcomes first ATR 72-600

July 5, 2013 · 66 Views

Firefly, Malaysia Airlines’ subsidiary carrier has taken ownership of its first brand-new ATR 72-600. The aircraft is the first of 20 latest generation firm ATRs, plus 16 options, ordered by Malaysia Airlines in December 2012. Firefly currently operates 12 ATR 72-500s, and with the arrival of the new ATR 72-600s will almost triple its exclusively ATR 72 aircraft fleet, taking the total to over 30 aircraft.

GE’s Passport engine begins first full engine test

June 26, 2013 · 42 Views

Certification testing is underway on the first Passport development engine at GE Aviation’s Peebles Testing Operation in Ohio. The engine began ground testing on June 24th and ran for more than three hours, reaching more than 18,000 lbs. of standard day sea-level takeoff thrust. Eight Passport engines and one core will be involved in the engine certification program. Flight testing on GE’s flying testbed is scheduled for 2014. Engine certification is expected in 2015. The Passport engine certification program follows three years of validation testing. GE Aviation has conducted validation tests on the fan blisk design, including two fan blade-out rig tests, ingestion tests and a fan aero rig test to demonstrate fan efficiency. Testing is complete on the third eCore demonstrator, and GE has accumulated more than 300 hours of testing on eCore demonstrators to date.

Rolls-Royce wins order from CIT to power 23 aircraft

May 22, 2013 · 55 Views

Rolls-Royce has won an order from US leasing company CIT Aerospace for Trent XWB engines, to power ten Airbus A350 XWB aircraft and Trent 700 engines to power 13 Airbus A330 aircraft. The Trent XWB engines will power ten CIT A350 aircraft that were announced in January 2013 which were in addition to five A350 XWB aircraft already on order. The Trent XWB, specifically designed for the Airbus A350, is the fastest selling Trent engine ever, with more than 1,200 already sold. The engine variant that will power the A350-800 and -900 was awarded European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) type certification in February. The engine will power the first flight of the Airbus A350 XWB this year and the aircraft’s first in-service flight in 2014.

Sycamore Aviation positions for the future

November 27, 2014 · 575 Views

Glyn Wall has acquired Sycamore Aviation’s aircraft decommissioning business located at Durham Tees Valley Airport (DTVA) in the UK. The Company will continue to trade under the Sycamore Aviation brand. Sycamore Aviation is fully operational at its home base at DTVA in the North East of England, and will also continue to offer its worldwide mobile dismantling services. The original founder behind Sycamore Aviation, Kevin O’Hare remains with the company and will be supported by the addition of new directors, Glyn Wall and Andy McCormick. The new team bring with them many years of experience in the commercial aviation sector. Andy and Glyn will support Kevin on the decommissioning arm of the business and help develop complimentary services to benefit the current customer base and attract new customers. Glyn Wall commented, “We have a strong pipeline of aircraft teardown opportunities and are excited about the addition of services for our customers. With our new offering we aim to turn Sycamore Aviation into the most progressive company in its sector, operating to the highest possible standards”.

Royal Aero to green-time lease one CFM56-3 engine to Sriwijaya Air

November 27, 2014 · 125 Views

Royal Aero has leased a CFM56-3 engine on a green-time lease to Sriwijaya Air, one of the largest domestic carriers in Indonesia with over 700,000 passengers per month. The special advantage of green-time leasing is the minimal level of inspection at lease return. The leasing period equals the remaining operational life of the engine (green-time), therefore no costs are incurred due to inspection and repairs as the engine will not be put through a shop visit or further lease at return. Return conditions are very flexible which reduces the risk to the lessee and leasing contracts are typically easier to negotiate. “Airlines need fully operational, efficient aircraft while maintaining flexibility to easily reduce or increase fleet capacity in order to secure liquidity. Green-time leasing makes it possible to achieve these goals at minimum cost”, says Calum M. MacLeod, CEO of Royal Aero. This CFM56-3 engine leased to Sriwijaya Air is the third engine to go into the lease pool of “Alpha Aircraft Leasing International”, an engine lease fund initiated by Royal Aero and Gulf One Investment Bank in 2013. In total the number of lease engines managed by Royal Aero since 2005 has been increased to 25.

SAS and Etihad Airways announce codeshare plans

November 27, 2014 · 88 Views

Scandinavian airline SAS and Etihad Airways are set to begin codeshare operations and provide customers with enhanced travel options between Scandinavia and the UAE. The agreement, which is subject to regulatory approval, will strengthen both carriers by enabling them to offer greater connectivity to and from a number of key European cities. SAS is Etihad Airways’ 47th airline partnership globally and its 22nd in Europe. For SAS, Etihad is the 23rd codeshare partner and the third with strong presence in the Middle East. Both airlines will also develop and sign a Frequent Flyer agreement, which will benefit the members of Etihad Airways’ Etihad Guest and SAS’ EuroBonus loyalty programs. The deal will see SAS place its SK code on Etihad Airways’ flights between Abu Dhabi and Brussels, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Rome, Milan, Zurich, Geneva and London Heathrow. In turn, Etihad Airways will place its EY code on SAS-operated flights from these European destinations, excluding Brussels, onto SAS’ hubs in Copenhagen, Oslo, and Stockholm.

El Al reports decreased net profit for third quarter of 2014

November 27, 2014 · 560 Views

Revenues amounted to US$601.2m, compared to US$643.3m during the equivalent quarter in the previous year, a decline of 6.5%. Revenues per passenger declined by 7.3%, mainly as a result of a drop in the yield per passenger-kms, as a result of the negative effects of the ‘Operation Protective Edge’. Revenues from cargo transport increased by 4.5%, mainly as a result of an increase in the number of ton-kms flown, after setting off a decline in the yield. Operating expenses increased by 2% to US$493m compared to US$483.6m during the equivalent quarter in the previous year. The rate of operating expenses to turnover increased from 75.2% in the third quarter of 2013 to 82.0% in this quarter. The increase in operating expenses was a result mainly of the increase in expenses for jet fuel, an increase in levies and air transition fees, and after setting-off the decline in salary and security expenses. Income from operations amounted to US$29.1m, compared to US$75.6m during the equivalent quarter in the previous year. Net financing expenses during the quarter amounted to US$15.4m compared to net financing income of US$5.2m the equivalent quarter in the previous year, mainly due to the results of hedging the rates of exchange. Net profit for the third quarter of 2014 amounted to US$10.1m, compared to US$57.9m for the third quarter of 2013. Cash flows used for operating activities in the third quarter of 2014 amounted to US$12.0m compared to US$56.1m cash flows provided by operating activities during the equivalent quarter in the previous year. The EBITDA in the third quarter of 2014 amounted to US$57.3m compared to US$100.6m during the equivalent quarter.

Forward Air Corporation names election of Ronald W. Allen as new independent director

November 27, 2014 · 717 Views

Forward Air Corporation has elected Ronald W. Allen as a non-management director of its Board of Directors. The Company’s Board now consists of nine members, eight of whom are non-management directors. Mr. Allen previously served as a director of Forward Air from 2011 to 2013.

Lion Group becomes ATR’s largest customer

November 27, 2014 · 161 Views

ATR and Indonesia’s Lion Group have signed a US$1bn purchase agreement for 40 additional ATR 72-600s, hiking the firm order total for the newest generation ATR turboprops to 100 aircraft. This latest signature marks a milestone in ATR’s history, as Lion Group becomes ATR’s largest customer ever. There are currently three subsidiary airlines in the Lion Group operating ATRs: Wings Air with a fleet of 32 ATR aircraft operating in Indonesia; Malindo Air with a fleet of 10 ATRs operating in Malaysia; and Thai Lion Air, so far with 1 ATR in operation in Thailand. These additional 40 ATR 72-600s will be used to meet the growing demand forecast over the next five years both within the Group’s existing operators’ networks and to develop other opportunities for ATR operations throughout Asia and developing markets worldwide. Deliveries of this new aircraft order will start in 2017 and run into 2019.

Alitalia announces Board of Directors of new Alitalia

November 27, 2014 · 795 Views

New Alitalia announced the composition of the Board of Directors of the company that will become the new Alitalia airline entity from January 1st, 2015, and in which Etihad Airways will take a minority stake. In terms of the airline’s governance rules, the Board representation reflects the shareholding structure of the new Alitalia post-closing. The Board will comprise nine directors. Six directors will be appointed by Alitalia, among whom the Non-Executive Chairman, one independent Director and the jointly designated Chief Executive Officer. Three directors will be appointed by Etihad Airways, one of whom will be the Vice Chairman. The announcement confirms the appointment of:

Luca Cordero di Montezemolo – Non-Executive Chairman (Alitalia appointed)
James Hogan – Non-Executive Vice Chairman (Etihad appointed)
Silvano Cassano – Chief Executive Officer (Jointly appointed)
Roberto Colaninno – Non-Executive Director and Honorary Chairman (Alitalia appointed)
Giovanni Bisignani – Non-Executive Director (Etihad appointed)
Professor Paolo Colombo – Non-Executive Director (Alitalia appointed)
Antonella Mansi – Non-Executive Director (Alitalia appointed – independent)
Jean Pierre Mustier – Non-Executive Director (Alitalia appointed)
James Rigney – Non-Executive Director (Etihad appointed)

The new Board, which will be appointed for a period of three years, will assume office immediately in order to prepare the implementation of the transaction.

GECAS delivers new leased Airbus A321s to Thomas Cook Group

November 27, 2014 · 160 Views

GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS), the commercial aircraft leasing arm of GE, announced delivery of three new leased Airbus A321 aircraft to the Thomas Cook Group. GECAS is scheduled to deliver a total of nine aircraft to Thomas Cook Group’s airlines in 2014 and 2015, as part of Thomas Cook’s previously announced program to renew and modernize its narrowbody fleet. Thomas Cook Group currently operates a fleet of about 90 aircraft to nearly 100 vacation destinations.

FAA propose directive requiring Boeing to fix wing proximity sensor problem on 787-8 Dreamliner

November 27, 2014 · 246 Views

Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner series has had a bumpy path since its introduction into service. Aeorinside report 44 incidents (not all mechanical) for the twin engine plane, including battery failure and subsequent fire risk, engine de-icing failure and numerous reports of wing proximity sensor failure. It is the latter problem which forced the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to step in on Wednesday of this week and issue a proposed directive requiring a fix for Boeing’s (BA.N) 787-8 Dreamliner sensor problem. The FAA have given Boeing 2 years in which to sort the problem out from the date the directive becomes effective. According to an FAA spokesperson, “We have received numerous reports of failures of the proximity sensor within the slat skew detection mechanism assembly (DMA) leading to slats up landing events.” Additionally they stated that “It was determined that the failed sensors had broken magnet wires due to stresses induced by thermal expansion and contraction of an epoxy applied around them.”
Boeing have already instigated matters themselves and approximately one third of the planes with the sensors have had new ones retrofitted. Currently there are 15 787-8 Dreamliners registered in the US out of 197 operational worldwide. The problem with the sensors, according to the FAA is that a sensor failure is capable of causing an aircraft to veer while in the process of landing on a shortened runway or during adverse weather conditions. Of Boeing’s current order list of 1,054 787s, 459 are for the 787-8 model.