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Tuesday, December 02, 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.


Aviation Finance Company Parent Stellwagen buys stake In Volito Aviation Services

December 1, 2014 · 516 Views

Stellwagen Finance Company, the parent company of Aviation Finance Compan (AFC) of Dublin, Ireland announced the purchase of Volito Aviation Services A.B. (VAS) of Sweden together with its Irish subsidiary. The acquisition will be completed in two stages and the first stage is now completed. This acquisition represents another step in the evolution of AFC’s aviation finance and investment business by broadening its ability to offer aircraft servicing capabilities. Douglas Brennan , Chief Executive Officer of AFC said, “The acquisition of Volito nicely complements AFC’s financing operations and strengthens our ability to serve our investors by enhancing our ability to offer a wide range of aircraft management services from sourcing and re-marketing aircraft and engines to aircraft maintenance surveillance, collection or repossession capabilities and more.” Volito manages aircraft assets for VGS and various other third parties, but none of these aircraft assets were purchased. The Volito name will be changed to Guardian Aviation Services Limited during 2015 upon completion of the second phase of the acquisition.


Brazilian airline Azul complements fleet with A320s for domestic long haul flights

December 1, 2014 · 98 Views

Azul Brazilian Airlines has signed a purchase agreement for 35 A320neo Family aircraft. The airline, which is also leasing another 28 A320neo aircraft, has chosen the A320neo Family to carry out domestic long haul flights and high density routes, including Campinas – Salvador and Campinas – Recife. For Azul, an important driver for selecting the A320neo was the aircraft’s low operating costs and excellent fuel efficiency. Azul has selected CFM LEAP-1A engines for their A320neo fleet.


Avolon announces launch of initial public offering

December 1, 2014 · 525 Views

Avolon Holdings announced the launch of its initial public offering of 13,636,363 common shares. The initial public offering price is currently expected to be between $21 and $23 per share, which would result in a total offering size of between US$286m and $314m. All of the common shares are being offered by the selling shareholders. The selling shareholders have granted the underwriters an option to purchase up to 2,045,455 additional common shares to cover over-allotments, if any. Avolon will not receive any of the proceeds from the offering. The offering is being made pursuant to a registration statement on Form F-1 filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). Avolon has been approved to list its common shares on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “AVOL”. J.P. Morgan Securities LLC, Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC, Citigroup Global Markets Inc., UBS Securities LLC and Wells Fargo Securities, LLC are acting joint book-running managers.


Investec Bank signs lease agreement with Thailand’s Nok Air for Q400 NextGen aircraft family

December 1, 2014 · 144 Views

Bombardier Commercial Aircraft officially welcomed Investec Bank to the family of Q400 aircraft lessors as Thai premium low-cost carrier Nok Air and the international bank and asset manager closed the sale and leaseback of two extra capacity Bombardier Q400 NextGen airliners. The 86-seat aircraft recently joined the carrier’s fleet as part of a purchase agreement for up to eight Q400 NextGen turboprops, six of which are firm. Investec was established in 1974 and its current market capitalization is approximately GB£3.6bn (US$5.63bn).


PAS Technologies Ploiesti, Romania location acquires AS9100 certification

December 1, 2014 · 300 Views

PAS Technologies’ Ploiesti, Romania operation has acquired AS9100, a prestigious certification verifying that a facility has established a Quality Management System (QMS) that conforms with the Aerospace Quality Management System and the International Quality System Standards. Specializing in serving customers in the oil and gas (O&G) markets, the PAS Ploiesti facility has expanded its capabilities and operational footprint to also accommodate both commercial aerospace and military aerospace businesses. PAS Technologies (www.pas-technologies.com) specializes in providing cost-effective original equipment manufacturing (OEM) and maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) products, services and solutions for the commercial and military aerospace, Industrial Gas Turbine (IGT), and O&G markets. Globally, PAS operates six facilities; five PAS locations already maintain AS9100 certification. Acquiring AS9100 certification involves a rigorous audit process that evaluates organizational processes and regulatory requirements. The accreditation is based on a number of key elements in place at a facility’s operation which include product safety, airworthiness, conformity and reliability in the aerospace industry. These quality requirements, in turn, are crucial to aerospace OEMs, which maintain high levels of liability for their product.


Rolls-Royce invests in UK military engine support capability

December 1, 2014 · 1011 Views

Rolls-Royce has announced an £18m investment in Bristol, UK, to support the TP400 engine. The TP400, produced by the Europrop International engine consortium in which Rolls-Royce is a senior partner, powers the Airbus A400M military transport aircraft which has just entered service with the UK’s Royal Air Force (RAF). The investment will fund the provision of facilities to perform maintenance, repair, and overhaul of the TP400 engines, training for employees, and the conversion of an existing test-bed to be capable of running the engine while on the ground. This will initially be used to support engines in service with the RAF, but will also be available to support service requirements for other A400M customers. Paul Craig, Rolls-Royce President Customer Service – Defence, said: “This is great news for both our customers and the Bristol site. This new capability will enable us to ensure that the RAF enjoys the same high level of engine support for its latest aircraft as it does for the other Rolls-Royce powered aircraft in its fleet. It also ensures that we can maintain military test capability at Bristol into the future.


Deutsche Bahn announce intent to sue airlines over 1999-2006 cargo price fixing practises

December 1, 2014 · 143 Views

Back in November 2010, 11 airlines were fined by the European Commission for fixing the price of air cargo between 1999 and 2006. The fines totalled €800m, ranging from €339.6 for Air France-KLM (including Martinair) to €8.2m for LAN Chile. The maximum fine was based on 10% of 2009 turnover for each airline. Interestingly, at the time, Lufthansa who were also involved were not fined, basically because they had revealed the existence of the price-fixing practise. However the fines by the European Commission left the gates open for businesses who had suffered financially as a consequence of the actions of these airlines to seek their own financial compensation. The US Department of Justice had already charged 18 airlines and a number of executives in its investigation into the existence of a cargo cartel and had imposed more than US$1.6bn in fines. At the time a group of firms, including Swedish telecoms group Ericsson and Dutch electronics business Philips began proceedings to sue Air France-KLM and its Martinair subsidiary for €400m.
Roll forward to today and it has been announced that Deutsche Bahn, which operates in over 130 countries, transporting more than 390 million tonnes of freight a year via land, rail, sea and air, and with revenues last year of €39.1bn, are to sue a number of airlines involved in the price-fixing operation, including Lufthansa, BA, Japan Airlines, Air France-KLM, Scandinavia’s SAS, Qantas, Cargolux, Martinair and All Nippon Airways. Deutsche Bahn declined to comment further on the announcement other than pointing to an invitation to a media briefing on Monday “on a multi-billion dollar lawsuit seeking damages from air cargo carriers”. Deutsche Bahn have already announced that it is suing in the United States for the same price fixing practise. It is understood that Deutsche Bahn would be seeking the biggest damages settlement of up to €1.76 bn from Lufthansa.


VLM Airlines joins IATA

December 1, 2014 · 154 Views

VLM Airlines joined IATA, the global trade association for the airline industry, in a move that reinforces the Belgian operator’s plans to launch regional scheduled services in 2015. Arthur White, CEO of VLM Airlines, says: “As we expand into scheduled services, building on our established ACMI and charter operations, IATA membership makes perfect sense. No other association offers as much global airline expertise as IATA. We fully support IATA’s commitment to reducing costs in the industry and raising technical standards, and we are eager to contribute to those objectives in every way we can. Furthermore, we will benefit greatly from participating in IATA activities and events, helping keep us informed of the latest industry developments.”