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Friday, December 19, 2014

AviTrader Daily Aviation News Alert

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

February 20, 2015 · 541 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 · 639 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 · 195 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 · 162 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 · 111 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 · 78 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 · 78 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 · 74 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 · 65 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 · 64 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 · 40 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 · 53 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.


VLM Airlines signs engine support agreement with PowerJet

December 18, 2014 · 563 Views

VLM Airlines has signed a long-term support agreement with PowerJet, manufacturer of the SaM146 engine that powers the Sukhoi Superjet 100 (SSJ100). In October 2014, VLM Airlines announced the airline would become the first European operator of the long-range SSJ100 LR regional aircraft. Arthur White, CEO of VLM Airlines, says: “This cooperation is another step for VLM Airlines in completing the journey to deliver new scheduled services with the SSJ100LR by summer 2015.”


Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank provides financing for Etihad Airways’ first A380-800

December 18, 2014 · 637 Views

Etihad Airways, the UAE’s national carrier, has received financing from Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) for its first Airbus A380-800 aircraft, which was showcased to the public for the first on December 18th, at Abu Dhabi International Airport. ADCB is providing financing for one A380-800 aircraft following a competitive global request for proposal. The A380 is the first of a fleet of ten A380s on order from Etihad Airways to enter service. During the past ten years, Etihad Airways has raised more than US$8 billion from 68 financial institutions to fund the purchase of aircraft and engines. Furthermore, Etihad has selected Abu Dhabi-based FGB and The National Commercial Bank (NCB) of Saudi Arabia to provide financing for the purchase of a number of its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft.  The financing from FGB and NCB is provided through Sharia-compliant facilities following a request for proposal issued in May this year, which saw high levels of interest from global banks and leasing companies.


Waypoint Leasing closes 31 aircraft acquisition from First Reserve

December 18, 2014 · 156 Views

Waypoint Leasing (Ireland), a leading global helicopter leasing company, has closed the acquisition of a portfolio of 31 in-demand, new technology aircraft from First Reserve, the largest global private equity and infrastructure investment firm exclusively focused on energy. The portfolio includes 18 AgustaWestland AW139s, 11 Sikorsky S-92s and two Sikorsky S76C++ aircraft models. All aircraft are subject to long-term lease agreements with the CHC Group Ltd. (HELI), in support of global oil and gas and search and rescue operations. Through this acquisition, Waypoint increases its current fleet to 85 aircraft and total assets in excess of $1.1 billion. The aircraft are on lease and generating revenue with 11 customers operating in 20 countries around the world in oil and gas, emergency medical service, search and rescue, firefighting, governmental support and other operations. Additionally, Waypoint has firm and option orders with aircraft manufacturers for additional helicopters valued at more than US$1bn at list prices, to be delivered over the next five years.


Dassault Aviation reveals first Falcon 8X

December 18, 2014 · 160 Views

Dassault Aviation rolled back the curtains on the ultra long range Falcon 8X, the company’s new flagship and the latest addition to the growing Falcon business jet family. Unveiled at Dassault’s Bordeaux-Merignac facility before an audience of customers, operators, industrial partners and representatives of certification authorities, the 8X will offer the greatest range and the longest cabin in the Falcon line, and the most extensive selection of cabin configurations on the market. Announced in May 2014, the Falcon 8X builds on the advanced performance and technology of the popular 7X long range trijet. It will offer a range of 6,450 nm (11,945 km) and a cabin 3.5 feet longer than the 7X while affording the same low operating economics and remarkable operating flexibility for which all Falcons are known. Final assembly and testing of the 8X is taking place at the state-of-the-art Charles Lindbergh hall at Bordeaux-Merignac. The facility was built to handle production of the Falcon 7X, and the 8X will draw on the same advanced digital design and manufacturing techniques pioneered with the 7X. Falcon 8X wing mating and engine installation were completed in July and first power up occurred shortly after. Ground tests concluded in November. The first engine run up took place in early December and the aircraft is on track for a maiden flight in the first quarter of 2015. A total of three aircraft will be used in the flight test and certification campaign. Deliveries are expected to begin in the second half of 2016.


Alaska Airlines flight attendants ratify five-year contract

December 18, 2014 · 176 Views

Alaska Airlines flight attendants approved a new five-year contract. Included in the new contract are quality of life enhancements and pay increases that rank Alaska’s 3,400 flight attendants among the highest paid in the industry at every pay step. Under the Railway Labor Act, which governs collective bargaining agreements in the airline industry, contracts do not expire, they only become amendable. The previous agreement became amendable on May 1st, 2012 and the new contract will become amendable again on Dec. 17th, 2019.


Avianca takes delivery of first 787 Dreamliner

December 18, 2014 · 187 Views

Avianca took delivery of the first 787 Dreamliner for the Latin American carrier, helping the airline stay at the forefront of technology in the region. “The addition of the first Boeing 787-8 to Avianca’s fleet is a milestone for commercial aviation and for our airline, which strives to bring the most advanced aviation technology to our passengers,” said Avianca President and CEO Fabio Villegas Ramirez.


BOC Aviation finalizes order for two additional 737-800s

December 18, 2014 · 179 Views

BOC Aviation has finalized an order for two additional 737-800s, valued at US$186m at current list prices. The order is a part of the Singapore-based leasing company’s effort to grow its portfolio of fuel-efficient airplanes. “Building on our order of 80 737 aircraft earlier this year, these two additional Next-Generation 737s enable us to respond to demand from airline customers which are expanding or replacing older fleets,” said Robert Martin, BOC Aviation managing director and chief executive officer. “The 737 is known for its operational and fuel efficiency, and BOC Aviation expects continued healthy demand for the Next Generation 737 and 737 MAX.”


Etihad Airways receives first Airbus A380

December 18, 2014 · 212 Views

Etihad Airways, one of the world’s leading airlines, welcomed the first of its ten new Airbus A380 aircraft. Etihad Airways is the thirteenth airline to operate the A380, and the aircraft is the 150th A380 delivered by Airbus. The delivery is set to boost capacity on several of Etihad’s most in-demand routes, taking the airline to new heights as it continues to redefine the flying experience. Setting new benchmarks in onboard product, service, hospitality and style, Etihad Airways has invested in enhancing the passenger experience through the acquisition of Airbus’ game changing A380. The A380 offers airlines increased capacity, long-haul range, fuel efficiency and improved performance but also immense flexibility in cabin choices, as yet again demonstrated by Etihad Airways.


Pratt & Whitney signs PurePower Geared Turbofan engine partnering agreement with Kawasaki Heavy Industries

December 18, 2014 · 642 Views

Pratt & Whitney and Kawasaki Heavy Industries signed a risk and revenue-sharing collaboration agreement for KHI to provide key hardware modules for Pratt & Whitney’s PurePower Geared Turbofan (GTF) engines. Pratt & Whitney currently has 10 worldwide GTF collaboration partners, many of which work across multiple GTF engine variants to be installed on various aircraft platforms for Pratt & Whitney customers. These aircraft programs are directed by Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation, Bombardier Aerospace, Airbus, Irkut and Embraer. “Our collaboration on the GTF started in 2007 when our great partner, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, selected the PW1200G Geared Turbofan engine for their Mitsubishi Regional Jet and soon after joined the program as a partner. Since then we have continued to seek risk-sharing relationships with GTF program participants,” said Bernard I. Zimmerman, vice president, Group Strategy & Development for Pratt & Whitney. Zimmerman’s team is responsible for establishing and managing these risk and revenue-sharing collaborations with various Pratt & Whitney “partners”.


Restoration of political ties between US and Cuba may offer new opportunities for airlines

December 18, 2014 · 295 Views

The news that Barack Obama has decided to restore political ties between the US and Cuba could prove good news for the airline industry. Though clearly it is early days, a number of airlines who currently operate charter flights to the Caribbean island have already identified the potential for increased business. Anthony Black, who is the spokesman for Delta Air Lines, which operates a number of charter flights to Cuba, made it very clear his company looked forward to growing its service to the island as and when more opportunities arose. American Airlines, which weekly has about 20 charter flights to Cuba, indicated it would continue to follow the laws and policies of the US government, but would not comment on whether an increase in the number of flights was on the cards.
The Chief Executive of the Aerospace Industries Association, Marion Blakey, welcomed the president’s announcement, saying it could well create “a great deal of new commerce” for American companies. However this news is also timely for Cuban airlines too as it was only back in October that Cubana de Aviación, Cuba’s national carrier, announced they intended to launch a new route from Costa Rica, and add a second flight from Cancun. Airlines in Mexico, Poland, Russia, Germany and Colombia will either be opening new routes or adding flights to Cuba, said Dalila Gonzalez at the same time, an official at Cuba’s Tourism Ministry. Canada, who is Cuba’s biggest source of tourists, has also announced they will be operating more flights to Cuba and Thomas Cook Airlines announced in November that it will operate a brand new flight to Varadero in Cuba from Belfast in January 2016.