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Saturday, December 20, 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.


Skyworks Leasing successfully completes multiple asset management transactions

December 19, 2014 · 167 Views

SkyWorks Leasing has completed a lease extension of one B747-400 (s/n 24381) to United Airlines, on behalf of a U.S-based investor. In the preceding 12-month period, SkyWorks have also negotiated and arranged the following transactions on behalf of the same investor: long term lease extensions to United Airlines of one RR-powered B757-200 (s/n 27293) and one B767-300ER (s/n 29237); the lease return from United Airlines and subsequent sale to United Airlines of two PW-powered B757-200 airframes (s/n’s 26685 and 26686), and the sale of the four related PW2037 engines to AAR Parts Trading, in two separate transactions.


Hawaiian Airlines and Airbus sign purchase agreement for delivery of six A330-800neo aircraft

December 19, 2014 · 187 Views

Hawaiian Airlines announced a definitive purchase agreement with Airbus, finalizing the Memorandum of Understanding announced earlier this year to acquire six new A330-800neo aircraft starting in 2019. The agreement replaces Hawaiian’s previous order for six A350-800s. The transaction includes rights to purchase an additional six aircraft as part of the carrier’s path to growth and increased efficiency. The A330-800neo wide-body, powered by the recently launched Rolls Royce Trent 7000 engine, is similar in size to Hawaiian’s A330-200 which seats 294 passengers in a two class configuration (First and Coach), and will incorporate aerodynamic enhancements that will increase range by up to 400-nautical miles and reduce fuel consumption by 14% per seat. The aircraft is the right-sized solution for the carrier’s future growth strategy.


AAR reports second quarter fiscal year 2015 results

December 19, 2014 · 595 Views

AAR reported second quarter fiscal year 2015 consolidated sales of US$490.0m and net income of US$15.2m. For the second quarter of the prior fiscal year, the Company reported sales of US$540.7m and net income of US$20.0m. Within the Aviation Services segment, sales decreased 11.1% to US$377.7m. Supply chain sales to commercial and defense customers experienced double-digit growth but this was offset by lower sales of the Company’s airlift and MRO services, although MRO facility utilization ramped up during the quarter. Comparability of financial performance for this quarter was also negatively impacted by the sale of two aircraft in the prior year period. Within the Technology Products segment, sales declined by 3.2%. Commercial and military cargo sales experienced double-digit growth offset by lower sales of mobility products.


Airbus Helicopters delivers first NH90 and first two HAD-E Tigers to the Spanish Ministry of Defense

December 19, 2014 · 194 Views

Airbus Helicopters has completed official delivery of the first two Tiger helicopters in the new HAD-E version and the first NH90 GSPA tactical transport helicopter destined for the Spanish Army Airmobile Force (FAMET). These three helicopters were assembled in the Spanish plant in Albacete, which successfully carried out the industrial phase, airworthiness certification and technical acceptance. “Our close relationship with the Spanish Army and the different departments of the Directorate-General of Armament and Equipment (DGAM) has been crucial to ensuring the success of these two high-tech programs” says Francisco Vergé, CEO of Airbus Helicopters España.


Bombardier’s Learjet 70 and Learjet 75 business aircraft granted certification by authorities in Mexico

December 19, 2014 · 368 Views

Bombardier reported that the Learjet 70 and Learjet 75 aircraft have received full type certification from the Civil Aviation Authority of Mexico, the Dirección General de Aeronáutica Civil (DGAC). The aircraft have enhanced performance through an engine thrust increase with an improved Honeywell engine, offering superior takeoff field length performance over their predecessors. The new avionic system contributes to achieving weight savings and the new canted winglets improve aerodynamic efficiency. Overall, both aircraft provide up to a 9% improvement in field performance under hot and high conditions and up to a 4% improvement in fuel efficiency.


Finnair completes sale of three Embraer 170 aircraft

December 19, 2014 · 235 Views

On May 5th 2014, Finnair Aircraft Finance Oy, Finnair’s fleet management subsidiary, signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the sale of three Embraer 170 aircraft to affiliates of Infinity Aviation Capital, a US-based aircraft leasing company. The transactions have now been finalised, and their total value was approximately US$40m. The sale of the three aircraft does not have significant impact on Finnair’s 2014 result. The transactions are a part of Finnair’s aim to focus on its core business. After the sale, Finnair Aircraft Finance owns only aircraft operated by Finnair or its affiliated company Flybe Finland.


Rolls-Royce commits to Derby as production hub for the Trent XWB

December 19, 2014 · 792 Views

Rolls-Royce announced that Derby will be the production centre for the Trent XWB. The Trent XWB is the most efficient large aero engine with more than 1,500 engines sold to 40 customers to date. It is the sole power plant available for the Airbus A350 XWB. Rolls-Royce has invested around £30m expanding its Derby Assembly & Test Facility and installing new equipment, in order to meet customer demand for the engine. Over the next three to four years, Trent XWB production will grow to over 300 engines a year – the equivalent of one every working day – and will stay at that level for several years. The majority of these engines will be built in Derby. The engine is expected to be in service for many years, creating an annuity of aftermarket services that will generate revenues for decades to come. Almost ten years ago, Rolls-Royce made its commitment to Airbus that it would develop a new engine for its latest wide-body aircraft. Work on the engine began in 2006 and it is ready to power the first A350 XWB aircraft to be delivered to launch customer Qatar Airways later this month.


Lufthansa Technik announces closer co-operation with Rolls-Royce in engine maintenance

December 19, 2014 · 845 Views

Rolls-Royce and Lufthansa Technik AG are to explore closer co-operation in the technical care of mature engines. It follows a year-long pilot project intended to reduce the maintenance costs of mature Trent 500 engines which power the Airbus A340-500/600 aircraft. Rolls-Royce’s expertise as the engine manufacturer and Lufthansa Technik’s experience as one of the world’s largest engine maintenance providers were combined in a pilot project. The question the pilot project pursued was: How can Trent 500 maintenance costs be reduced through the mature phase of the life-cycle? This work plays a significant element of ensuring Rolls-Royce has the capabilities to introduce TotalCare Flex, a concept to address the service needs of customers with mature-phase engines, including the Trent 500. Joint efforts on several Trent 500 engines made it clear that tangible reductions in costs were achievable through systematic changes in workscope, improved use of used material, and optimized processes in the workshops. Encouraged by the successful pilot project and great interest on the side of customers, the two project partners have agreed to explore options for longer-term cooperation, which may expand to include other engine types.


RBR Maintenance welcomes Mark Leavitt as aircraft maintenance sales

December 19, 2014 · 853 Views

RBR Maintenance announced they have hired Mark Leavitt as Aircraft Maintenance Sales. Mark joined the RBR team in December 2014 and will be conveniently located in Little Rock, Arkansas, in order to serve current and potential customers in the Mid-South region of the U.S. and beyond. With nearly 40 years in aviation, Mark has extensive knowledge on all aspects of aircraft completions, maintenance, avionics, and paint and interior projects, especially on the Hawker line of aircraft. Throughout his career, Mark has held senior level positions in which he oversaw complete maintenance operations and worked one-on-one with customers.


BA and IAG takeover bid for Aer Lingus rejected

December 19, 2014 · 574 Views

In a stock exchange disclosure, IAG has confirmed that it had “submitted a proposal” to make bid for Aer Lingus, adding though that it had been “rejected by the board of Aer Lingus,” continuing to say that “There can be no certainty that any further proposal or offer will be forthcoming. A further statement will be made if and when appropriate.” Aer Lingus’ Board, headed by chairman Colm Barrington, responded by saying in a stock market disclosure that “The board has reviewed the Proposal and believes that it fundamentally undervalues Aer Lingus and its attractive prospects. Accordingly, the Proposal was rejected on 16 December 2014”. Aer Lingus also stated that “Shareholders are strongly advised to take no action.” The bid is understood to be in excess of €1bn, while shares in Aer Lingus at one point rose over 21% on the news, closing yesterday 9% higher.
The move for Aer Lingus has been described as “highly opportunistic” by David Holohan, Head of Research at stockbroking firm Merrion Capital, based primarily on the fact that the airline is losing a highly respected Chief Executive in Christoph Mueller who is moving to troubled Malaysia Airlines next year. The airline is also struggling to settle a pension dispute that has been a cause of much industrial unrest at the airline. The Irish Government own a 25.1% stake in Aer Lingus, while Ryanair, who have made three separate attempts to acquire the airline, are awaiting the result from the UK Court of Appeal regarding a decision forcing them to reduce their stake in the airline from 29.8% to 5% which is due any day, but which may be delayed until January.