Friday, December 05, 2014
AviTrader Daily Aviation News Alert
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
December 4, 2014 · 660 Views
Wesco Aircraft, a leading provider of comprehensive supply chain management services to the global aerospace industry, announced that its board of directors has appointed Jennifer M. Pollino as a director, effective immediately. The appointment fills an existing vacancy on the board. Ms. Pollino will serve as a Class I director, with an initial term expiring at the company’s 2015 Annual Meeting of Stockholders. The board also appointed Pollino to serve on its compensation committee.
Sunwing Airlines signs lease agreements for two new Boeing 737-800s and four new Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft from Air Lease Corporation
December 4, 2014 · 114 Views
Air Lease Corporation announced long term lease agreements with Sunwing Airlines (Canada) covering two new Boeing 737-800 aircraft and four new Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft. These aircraft, all from ALC’s order book, are scheduled to deliver over a four year period commencing in 2016. President of Sunwing Airlines, Mark Williams, commented, “The acquisition of our new Boeing 737-800 and 737 MAX 8 aircraft is an integral part of our overall expansion plan across an increasing number of both Canadian and U.S. gateways. This year we will be operating flights out of 45 Canadian and U.S. local airports to over 40 different destinations across North and South America, and the Caribbean. As we continue to grow, having aircraft that will enable us to offer a reliable, cost-effective and environmentally-conscious service is paramount. So we are delighted to be able to include the new 737 MAX 8 in our fleet for the first time.”
December 4, 2014 · 274 Views
Parker Aerospace’s Customer Support Operations has signed a multi-year agreement with Singapore Airlines to provide a comprehensive support package for its fleet of Boeing 777 aircraft. This exclusive 10-year agreement, plus five-year option, is part of an enhanced service offering provided by Parker in partnership with operators like SIA that allows them to focus on the flying passenger by keeping their fleets in the air at predictable and sustainable costs over a long period of time. The agreement provides maintenance, inventory pooling and leasing, reliability sustainment, and management. The agreement covers Parker products over several ATA chapters, including 27 (flight controls), 28 (fuel), 29 (hydraulic), and 32 (landing gear). Parker Customer Support Operations will be the administrative lead for this agreement while ACE Services, the joint venture between SIA Engineering Company and Parker Aerospace, will manage many of the products locally.
December 4, 2014 · 133 Views
Finnair firmed up an order for eight further Airbus A350 XWB aircraft, which means additional Trent XWB engine business worth US$450m at list prices, for Rolls-Royce. The aircraft are in addition to 11 Airbus A350 XWBs that the airline already has on order, powered by the same engine. Finnair was the first airline to select the A350 XWB and will be the first European airline to receive the aircraft. The Trent XWB is the world’s most efficient large civil aero engine, and the fastest-selling widebody engine ever with more than 1,500 engines already sold. It will power the first A350 XWB into service later this year.
December 4, 2014 · 273 Views
Vector Aerospace Helicopter Services – North America has received FAA and EASA certification for development and installation of the Helicopter Terrain Awareness System (HTAWS) for AS332 C, L and L1 aircraft. The addition of HTAWS capabilities further compliments the growing list of Supplemental Type Certificates (STCs) applicable to the AS332 C, L & L1 aircraft. Other modifications for this series recently developed by Vector Aerospace include: NVG, solid state CVFDR, Dual Garmin combined NAV/Com/ GPS system, HEELS, and Saltwater Cabin protection. Vector Aerospace holds approvals from some of the world’s leading turbine engine, airframe and avionics OEMs. Engine products supported include a wide range of General Electric, Honeywell, Pratt & Whitney Canada, Rolls-Royce and Turbomeca. Vector Aerospace also provides support for a wide range of helicopter airframe platforms including from Airbus Helicopters, AgustaWestland, Boeing, and Sikorsky, including major inspections and dynamic component overhaul, and offers full-service avionics capability, including complete aircraft re-wire plus glass cockpit engineering, development and integration.
December 4, 2014 · 154 Views
Qatar Airways and Airbus announced the highly anticipated date of the official delivery of the first of its 80 Airbus A350 XWB aircraft on order, set to take place in Toulouse, France, on Saturday December 13th. The A350 XWB is a family of mid-sized wide-body airliners designed to enhance fuel, operating costs and environmental efficiencies during medium-to-long haul airline operations and features the very latest in aerodynamics, design and advanced technologies. The first commercial service will be deployed on the Doha-Frankfurt route from January 2015. Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “The delivery of our first A350 XWB aircraft, as global launch customer, is a highly anticipated event in the relatively young history of Qatar Airways and the second significant fleet milestone for our airline in almost as many months, having recently taken delivery of the first three of our A380 aircraft.
December 4, 2014 · 140 Views
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced global passenger traffic results for October showing a strengthening in demand growth compared to September 2014 and to the year-ago period. Total revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs) rose 5.7% over October 2013, slightly ahead of the 5.2% year-on-year rise recorded in September 2014. October capacity (available seat kilometers or ASKs) increased by 5.5%, causing load factor to rise 0.1 points to 79.1%. “Against a backdrop of economic weakness in some regions, October traffic results show demand for connectivity remains strong on a global basis,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO. “With 2014 drawing to a close, the outlook for air travel remains largely positive. Improvements in economies in Asia-Pacific and the US are offsetting weakness in the Eurozone and China. The fall in oil prices, if sustained, could provide a much-needed operating cushion. But there are risks which must also be accounted for—including the proliferation of political instability,” said Tyler. October international passenger demand rose 5.5% compared to the same month last year, with airlines in all regions except Africa recording growth. Capacity climbed 6.4% and load factor dipped 0.6 percentage points to 78.0%.
European airlines saw demand increase by 5.8% in October versus October 2013, the strongest growth among the three largest regions. Although there has been some slowdown in the Eurozone economy, travel on low cost carriers has remained robust and is helping sustain current results. Capacity rose 5.0% and load factor climbed 0.6 points to 81.9%, highest among regions. Asia-Pacific carriers’ traffic rose 5.5% compared to the year-ago period, reflecting stronger regional trade activity which encourages business travel. The economic slowdown in China has yet to have any impact on regional trade activity and related business travel. Capacity rose 7.4% and load factor dropped 1.4 points to 74.9%. North American airlines experienced a 1.8% rise in traffic compared to October a year ago. While a slowdown compared to September year-over-year growth, underlying trends in business activity are positive and growth in trade volumes has accelerated. Capacity rose 3.2%, which caused load factor to dip 1.1 points to 80.3%. Middle East carriers’ demand climbed 10.3% in October, the largest increase for any region, reflecting strong regional economies with rising export activity that supports regional trade and related international business travel. Capacity climbed 13.5%, causing load factor to fall 2.1 points to 73.5%. Latin American airlines saw traffic climb 6.5% compared to October 2013, second best among regions. Capacity rose 6.0% and load factor rose 0.5 points to 80.5%. The weak growth in the Brazilian economy may be deteriorating further but regional trade volumes have been improving. African airlines’ traffic contracted 1.6% in October, while ASKs slipped 0.1%, resulting in a 1.0 point drop in load factor to 66.8%, the lowest for any region. The weakness reflects adverse economic developments in some parts of the continent. However, the improving outlook for South Africa could ease some of the downward pressure on the continent’s carriers. Additionally, the effect of any Ebola-related traffic downturn is mostly restricted to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, markets that comprise a very small proportion of overall African traffic.
December 4, 2014 · 303 Views
Delta TechOps—Delta Air Lines’ maintenance division and its maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) provider business—opened a line maintenance hangar at its Tokyo-Narita International Airport on December 1st. The leased 13,000 m² facility will provide enhanced TechOps support for Delta’s Boeing 747-400, 777, 767, 757 and Airbus A330 transoceanic aircraft. More than 100 Delta TechOps professionals work at the NRT operation. “The new hangar allows us to enhance our capabilities and further support our stellar workforce at Narita,” said Lee Gossett, V.P.–Line Maintenance. “We continue to look for more efficient and effective opportunities to handle our routine and non-routine maintenance requirements. This facility will give us much needed flexibility to support Delta’s operation and our customers in the Asia-Pacific region.”
December 4, 2014 · 561 Views
Ryanair released November traffic growth highlighting that the airline’s “Always Getting Better” customer programme delivered a stronger than expected performance in the first month of Ryanair’s significantly expanded winter schedule. Despite increasing November seat capacity by 13% (over Nov 13) and opening a large number of new city pair routes designed to appeal to business traffic, Ryanair’s November load factor rose by 7% points from 81% in 2013 to 88% in 2014. Ryanair noted that it had materially exceeded its first month load factor targets across a significant number of city pair markets. As a result of this better than expected performance in month one, of its substantially expanded winter schedule, Ryanair has now revised its full year traffic guidance up from 89m to just over 90m customers, and raised its full year profit after-tax forecast from its previous range of €750m to €770m, to a new range of €810m to €830m. Ryanair noted that the final full year profit will still be heavily reliant on close in bookings and yields in Q4 (Jan – Mar 15) over which it presently has very little visibility.
December 4, 2014 · 266 Views
For the tenth time this year the German pilots’ union, Vereinigung Cockpit (VC), representing about 5,400 Lufthansa pilots, called another nationwide strike. This one took effect from 03:00 local time on Thursday, ending at 23:59. As a consequence Lufthansa were forced to cancel 37 long-haul and half a dozen cargo flights. In fact, the announcement of this strike came as pilots were currently in the midst of a strike that was scheduled to wind down by the end of Tuesday. That disruption forced Lufthansa to cancel half of its schedule for Monday and Tuesday, grounding 1,350 flights — nearly half its schedule — and disrupting the plans of about 150,000 passengers.
As with previous strikes this year, the problem relates to early retirement packages for pilots. Currently pilots can retire at 55 and still receive up to 60% of their wages up until the age of 65 when their full pension rights kick in. German news network Deutsche Welle says Lufthansa “does not want new hires to fall under the plan (and) wishes to increase the early retirement age to 61.” VC want this existing rule to apply to all new pilots rather than solely existing ones, but the airline claims they are unable to support such costs in face of competition from both low-cost airlines such as EasyJet and Ryanair, as well as Gulf airlines including Emirates, Etihad and Qatar. This is backed up by the fact that after an announcement was made in mid-July, on Wednesday this week the board at Lufthansa agreed to launch a new low-cost, long-distance airline under a separate name.
Usually strikes usually receive full support from the German public, but this time the pilots have come in for some severe criticism. According to Ernst Elitz of the German daily newspaper Bild, “In their cockpits, the pilots are in cloud cuckoo land… For Lufthansa it’s about surviving merciless competition. But the captains care only about their fat pensions and the dream of the good old days when there weren’t any budget carriers.”