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Thursday, December 11, 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.


Rockwell Collins’ Venue, Airshow cabin systems selected for wide-body VIP business jet

December 10, 2014 · 606 Views

Rockwell Collins’ Venue HD cabin management and entertainment system, Airshow Moving Map and audio/video on-demand (AVOD) streaming solution, have been selected by an undisclosed customer for a wide-body Airbus A340 business jet. The comprehensive cabin package will be installed in mid-2015. The updated A340 will feature full-cabin video and music streaming capabilities for both Apple and Android personal devices, made possible by Venue’s audio/video on-demand (AVOD) function. The aircraft will also feature various-sized large HD monitors in parts of the cabin for optimized viewing of Blu-ray movies and other high-resolution content. The selected cabin systems will be supported 24/7 by Rockwell Collins’ world-class customer service team, with over 2,000 staff and technicians operating from 46 bases around the globe. Rockwell Collins’ Venue system has been selected for a number of large VIP business aircraft over the last several years, including Airbus and Boeing business aircraft. Venue features a fault-tolerant, ruggedized fiber optic backbone, which ensures maximum system availability while providing necessary bandwidth to integrate the latest consumer technologies. It also features intuitive cabin controls for passengers to easily manage their ride environment, both from on-board interfaces and personal devices. Venue has been installed on more than 450 business aircraft, ranging from turboprops to long-range business jets and VIP aircraft.


Comlux America signs first wide body completion

December 10, 2014 · 211 Views

Comlux America, the Completion and Services center of the Comlux Group based in Indianapolis IN, signed their first wide body completion. The aircraft, an Airbus A330, is scheduled to input in September of 2015 to be outfitted with a full VIP interior. Since 2009, Comlux has already completed several narrow body completions including ACJ319, ACJ320, ACJ321, BBJ, BBJ3, and B757. They have consistently demonstrated an ability to deliver on time the most customized and innovative interiors to their VIP customers. This aircraft represents the 9th interior completion for Comlux America overall and the 1st wide body completion. In order to house the aircraft and future wide body programs, Comlux America has launched the construction of an extension to the current hangar facility. The expansion will increase the total size from 128,000 ft². (11,900 m²) to 157,000 ft². (14,600 m²), allowing the facility to accommodate one wide body – up to 747-8 size – and six narrow body aircraft simultaneously.


Groundbreaking of GAMECO landing gear overhaul base in Qingyuan

December 10, 2014 · 412 Views

On December 8th, 2014, a groundbreaking ceremony for the new landing gear overhaul facility of GAMECO was held at its Qingyuan branch in Yingfu Industrial Park, Taiping County, Qingxin District, Qingyuan. GAMECO plans to invest over CNY 200m on its Qingyuan Landing Gear Overhaul Base with the main facility to be located in Yingfu and the plating and machining center close by in Longwan. The project land in Yingfu takes up 45 Mus with a total construction area of 10,818 m² for Phase I, including shops to disassemble, clean, repair, assemble and test the landing gear as well as supporting facilities. The design capacity is more than 120 sets of landing gears, which can be overhauled every year. After establishing capabilities for machining and plating in 2015, GAMECO Landing Gear Overhaul Base will become one of only few comprehensive one-stop landing gear overhaul centers in China for aircraft like B737, B777, A320 and A330.


GA Telesis Composite Repair Group earns National Civil Aviation Agency of Brazil certification

December 10, 2014 · 419 Views

GA Telesis Composite Repair Group (CRG), a leader in structural and composite repair technologies, has been awarded ANAC certification (SEGVOO 001) by the Brazilian Aeronautical Authorities. This ANAC certification makes both GA Telesis Composite Repair Group and GA Telesis Component Repair Group Southeast (CRG-SE), authorized repair stations for all Brazilian airlines, MROs and parts suppliers. David LeClair, Vice President of Composite Strategic Sales, commented: “This additional certification will provide options and enhanced flexibility in support of our Brazilian customer base and expand the footprint of our SNAP offerings.” SNAP was launched by GA Telesis CRG and GA Telesis CRGSE in 2012 to support airlines worldwide with a solutions-based approach to manage nacelle and nacelle actuation needs.


Eastern Air Lines signs LOI with CAE to provide complete pilot training solutions

December 10, 2014 · 154 Views

Eastern Air Lines has signed a letter of intent with CAE, the world’s premier flight simulator manufacturer, under which CAE will provide Eastern with flight training solutions as it grows its fleet of Boeing 737-NG and MAX aircraft and eventually the Mitsubishi Regional Jet.  “CAE is proud to have been chosen as the training partner of choice of Eastern Air Lines as it grows its Boeing 737 fleet,” said Nick Leontidis, CAE Group President, Civil Simulation and Training.


HoverFly selects new generation AW169 for passenger transport missions

December 10, 2014 · 112 Views

HoverFly of Italy has signed a contract for an AW169 light intermediate twin engine helicopter to perform passenger transport missions plus a comprehensive package of support and training services. This aircraft will replace an ageing AS365 helicopter providing the operator with greater mission capability and the latest safety features. The AW169 is scheduled to be delivered in mid-2015 and will operate from HoverFly’s base near Rome. This contract marks the entrance of the all new AW169 helicopter into the Italian passenger transport market and further expands the success of the type in Italy, where it has already achieved significant success for other roles such as emergency medical service (EMS). Success of the AW169 in the passenger transport and VIP/corporate market has been steadily growing as the aircraft nears certification, particularly in South American and European markets.


China needs over 5,300 new aircraft in the next 20 years

December 10, 2014 · 163 Views

Airbus forecasts that China will need over 5,300 new passenger aircraft and freighters from 2014 to 2033, with a total market value of US$ 820bn. It represents 17% of the world total demand for over 31,000 new aircraft in the next 20 years. According to Airbus’ 2014-2033 Global Market Forecast, new deliveries of passenger and freight aircraft for China will be 5,363 over the next 20 years, including 3,567 single aisle aircraft, 1,477 twin-aisles and 319 very large aircraft. China will become the leading country for passenger air traffic, for both domestic and international markets as the passenger traffic in China will grow well above the world average. Domestic air traffic in China will become the world’s number one within 10 years. China will overtake the United States of America in 2023, in terms of the number of passengers and in 2027, in terms of RPK (Revenue Passenger Kilometre). In the next 20 years, the forecast average annual growth rate for the domestic Chinese market is 7.1% but will grow even faster over the next 10 years at 8.3% on average per year. By 2033, the domestic Chinese market will remain the largest flow, representing 11.9% of world traffic in terms of RPK. During the period between 2013 and 2023, the average annual growth rate for international traffic from/to mainland China will be 8.1%. Four out of the 20 largest flows (RPK) will be from/to PRC. The average annual growth rate for markets between emerging Asian countries and PRC is 7.5%, for routes between PRC and the USA is 6.6%, while the routes between Western Europe and PRC is 5.6%. Drivers of China’s dynamic air transport growth include the country’s long-term economic development. The average annual economic growth in China is forecast at 7.4% between 2013 and 2023. China will become the world’s biggest economy in 2023, with its GDP accounting for 19% of the world’s total. The urbanization of China is one of the major driving forces for the country’s economic growth. The urban population in China’s mainland was 711 million in 2013, representing 54% of the total population. The urban population will grow to 1.014 million in 2033, representing 71% of the population.


Airline profitability improves with falling oil prices

December 10, 2014 · 533 Views

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced an outlook for improved industry profitability in its Economic Performance of the Air Transport Industry report. Airlines are expected to post a collective global net profit in 2014 of some US$19.9bn (up from the US$18.0bn projected in June). This looks set to rise to US$25.0bn in 2015. Lower oil prices and stronger worldwide GDP growth are the main drivers behind the improved profitability. Consumers will benefit substantially from the stronger industry performance as lower industry costs and efficiencies are passed through. The airline industry is highly competitive. After adjusting for inflation, average return airfares (excluding taxes and surcharges) are expected to fall by some 5.1% on 2014 levels and cargo rates are expected to fall by a slightly bigger 5.8%. The expected $25bn net post-tax profit represents a 3.2% margin. On a per passenger basis, airlines will make a net profit of $7.08 in 2015. That is up on the $6.02 earned in 2014 and more than double the $3.38 earnings per passenger achieved in 2013. The return on invested capital (ROIC) is expected to grow to 7.0%. This is a substantial improvement on the 6.1% ROIC expected to be achieved in 2014.This is still 0.8 percentage points below the 7.8% weighted average cost of capital (WACC), so there is still some ground to cover before achieving sustainable margins.“The industry outlook is improving. The global economy continues to recover and the fall in oil prices should strengthen the upturn next year. While we see airlines making US$25bn in 2015, it is important to remember that this is still just a 3.2% net profit margin. The industry story is largely positive, but there are a number of risks in today’s global environment—political unrest, conflicts, and some weak regional economies- among them. And a 3.2% net profit margin does not leave much room for a deterioration in the external environment before profits are hit,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO.


EU Commission looks like going solo in attempt to introduce mandatory flight tracking

December 10, 2014 · 185 Views

The total disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH70 in March saw many people asking how, in this day and age of high technology and the ability to track virtually anything, an airplane of such magnitude could disappear without trace. The clear public discomfort at such an event saw the re-emergence of ideas proposed but postponed subsequent to the disappearance over the Atlantic in 2009 of Air France flight 447 from Rio de Janeiro to Paris. Efforts by global regulators and the airline industry to agree on a system to successfully track aircraft have not got as far as hoped and despite asking for more time to progress matters, the EU is considering plans to impose flight-tracking on a unilateral basis instead.
As always, the biggest complaint from the airlines is cost which, if a tracking system is made mandatory solely on European airlines, will see them struggle to remain competitive. More wide-ranging talks are being held by the UN’s ICAO who, in May, had agreed to the need for global tracking. Airlines are trying to persuade the EU Commission to await their conclusions, while also trying to steer the Commission in the direction of utilising existing and available technology, as opposed to a installing a totally new and more costly system. In a letter to the European Commission, the Association of European Airlines pointed out that a new system “would be disproportionate to its added value,” based on a summary of the contents provided to airline chiefs.
It is anticipated that EU officials and Airlines will meet later this week to try to defuse the row, which bears a remarkable resemblance to the dispute regarding unilateral EU action on climate measures. At this stage there is also discussions going on regarding the possibility of governments meeting part of the costs, while regulators do point out that anything which would help with the location of a downed plane will have great implications on future aircraft safety.