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Wednesday, January 07, 2015

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.

Taking Aviation Forward acquires partnering interest in Aviation Management

January 6, 2015 · 368 Views

Taking Aviation Forward (TAF), a company focused on commercial aviation and known for innovative management, sales, and investments out of Pembroke Pines, FL, has acquired a partnering interest in Aviation Management (AMI). Aviation Management is a full service aircraft engine solutions provider. Its powerplant engineering consultants provide timely, cost-saving solutions to turbine engine operators worldwide. Brion Patt, AMI’s co-owner, all remaining staff, Aeronautical engineers, and original co-founder Paul Rehder will remain with the newly acquired entity. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. AMI’s mission is to deliver a full technical and financial engine management services solution to airlines, leasing companies, and aircraft engine operators around the globe. Its goal is to provide each customer with a vigorous, comprehensive, and tailor-made solution enabling them to realize significant cost savings while operating their fleets optimally.

Hawaiian Airlines files application to begin Tokyo-Kona service

January 6, 2015 · 80 Views

Hawaiian Airlines filed an application with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to begin daily, non-stop service this summer between Tokyo International Airport at Haneda (HND) and Kona International Airport (KOA) on Hawai’i Island. The airline’s action was prompted by the U.S. DOT’s decision last month to review the public interest served by Delta Air Lines’ Seattle-Tokyo route after Delta reduced its frequency from daily to seasonal. In its application, Hawai’i’s flagship carrier urged the U.S. DOT to reallocate Delta’s Haneda frequency based on market data, noting that Hawaiian Airlines’ Honolulu-Tokyo service has been “by far the most, if not only, successful route” of the four Haneda slot pairs granted to U.S. carriers in 2010. The Hawai’i Tourism Authority (HTA) estimates that the proposed daily service will generate 531,721 visitor days and US$146m in visitor expenditures. Hawaiian Airlines’ application calculates that service directly to Kona will attract 39,000 additional visitors and result in 1,151 new jobs and US$65m in new direct spending.

Gulfstream selects Garmin ADS-B out solution for G150 Business Jet

January 6, 2015 · 91 Views

Garmin International reported the certification of an Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) solution for the Gulfstream G150, bringing NextGen compliance to this versatile mid-sized business jet. The Garmin GTX 3000 Mode S Extended Squitter (ES) remote transponder and GDL 88 ADS-B datalink combine to fulfill global ADS-B requirements while meeting the stringent demands of business and transport category aircraft. This cost-effective ADS-B upgrade meets the immediate needs of business aircraft that have limited options to address global airspace requirements.

Alaska Air Group reports December 2014 operational results

January 6, 2015 · 86 Views

Alaska reported a 9.4% increase in traffic on a 12.7% increase in capacity compared to December 2013. This resulted in a 2.6-point decrease in load factor to 85.4%.

Horizon reported a 1.6% increase in traffic on a 3.5% increase in capacity compared to December 2013. This resulted in a 1.5-point decrease in load factor to 80.8%.

Konrad J Walter joins Aviation Management as co-owner and managing partner

January 6, 2015 · 398 Views

Konrad J Walter Founder and CEO of Taking Aviation Forward has joined Aviation Management as co-owner and managing partner. Aviation Management is a full service aircraft engine solutions provider. AMI offers its clients professional oversight for numerous engine types, including the CF6, CF34, CFM56, RB211, PW2000, PW4000, and V2500 series engines, and has offices and engineering staff in the UK, Dublin, Asia, and the US.

Boeing, Air New Zealand finalize order for two 787-9 Dreamliners

January 6, 2015 · 113 Views

Boeing and Air New Zealand have finalized an order for two additional 787-9 Dreamliners, valued at US$514m at current list prices. The order, booked in 2014, comes six months after Air New Zealand celebrated the first 787-9 delivery in July. “The entry into service program has gone very smoothly and we’ve been incredibly pleased with the aircraft’s performance,” said Christopher Luxon, chief executive officer, Air New Zealand. “These new 787-9 Dreamliners will provide us with additional flexibility as we move forward with our growth plans.” This order will eventually increase the airline’s fleet to a total of 12 787-9s, which will operate alongside 15 777-200ERs (Extended Range) and 777-300ERs.

Boeing Commercial Airplanes achieves milestone year for deliveries, orders in 2014

January 6, 2015 · 125 Views

Boeing set a record for the most commercial airplanes delivered in a single year at 723 in 2014, breaking the company record for a second consecutive year. The company also booked 1,432 net orders, carrying a value of US$232.7bn at list prices, breaking the previous all-time high set in 2007. Boeing’s unfilled commercial orders stood at 5,789 at the end of the year – also a new company all-time high. All three Boeing Commercial Airplanes production sites – Everett and Renton, Wash. and North Charleston, S.C. – each set new site records for airplane deliveries. In 2014, three individual commercial programs achieved notable milestones, each a single-year record:
737 program delivered 485 of the popular single-aisle airplanes
777 program delivered 99 airplanes
787 program delivered 114 Dreamliners, including the first 787-9 to launch customer Air New Zealand and first direct deliveries to 13 airline customers.

Of the 1,432 net commercial orders Boeing booked in 2014, the Next-Generation 737 and 737 MAX led the way with 1,104 orders, followed by the 777 and 777X with 283 orders.

CarVal Investors signs agreement to acquire majority holding of AerFin

January 6, 2015 · 448 Views

CarVal Investors, a leading global alternative investment manager, signed an agreement to acquire a majority holding of AerFin Limited from its current owner, Bob James. Mr. James will remain as the Managing Director and CEO going forward and will retain 20 percent of the company. “The acquisition of AerFin is a compelling investment in itself and in addition enables CarVal to invest effectively in a dynamic and growing market in a more strategic way,” said Justin Bradburn, managing director for CarVal Investors. “Bob James and the AerFin team will bring tremendous value to our ability to invest in end-of-life aircraft and engines.” AerFin was formed in 2010 by Bob James who has over 34 years in the aviation industry with asset trading and technical management. AerFin specializes in providing end-of-life solutions for investors, MROs and airlines exposed to technically challenging assets. EBITDA to Sept 2014 was in excess of US$4m.

Navy awards GE F414 fleet support PBL contract

January 6, 2015 · 751 Views

GE Aviation has been awarded a three-year (2015-2017), US$460m Performance Based Logistics (PBL) contract from the U.S. Navy covering the repair, replacement and program support for F414 engine components for the F/A-18 E/F and EA-18G Growler aircraft. This multi-year procurement arrangement is an availability-based contract providing operational readiness requirements for the F414 fleet through the Navy’s Fleet Readiness Centers West (Lemoore, CA) and Southeast (Jacksonville, FL). This contract builds on the success of a series of previous F414 PBL contracts dating back to 2002. Since the introduction of PBLs, the Navy has realized significantly lower acquisition costs with improved readiness while GE added considerable value to the military aftermarket. In addition to the Lynn plant, GE Supply Chain facilities in Hooksett, NH; Rutland, VT.; Wilmington, NC; and Madisonville, KY will provide parts for this PBL contract.

FPG and Amentum acquire two Norwegian 737-800s

January 6, 2015 · 185 Views

Financial Products Group (‘FPG’), the Tokyo-headquartered, listed independent financial services firm and Amentum Capital (‘Amentum’), the Dublin based aircraft leasing company announced the acquisition of two 737-800s (MSN 35647 and 36814). The aircraft are on lease to Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA and were acquired from an affiliate of CDB Leasing.

Precision Aircraft Solutions receives winglet 757 MZFW upgrade approval

January 6, 2015 · 279 Views

Precision Aircraft Solutions has received FAA approval for a new Maximum Zero Fuel Weight (MZFW) increase on both winglet- and non-winglet-equipped Precision Conversions freighters. The most recent upgrade authorization allows Precision to further increase MZFW as high as 200,000 lbs. (90,718 kg) — 12,000 lbs. (5,443 kg) over the OEM highest certificated MZFW for Rolls-Royce- and Pratt & Whitney-powered 757s. This translates to gross structural payloads of up to 84,000 lbs. (38,101 kg) for Rolls-Royce PCF variants and 82,000 lbs. (37,194 kg) for Pratt-powered PCF variants, line number 210+. The weight upgrade greatly expands available feedstock for operators and improves residual value for owners.

Speculation concerning cause of AirAsia QZ8501 crash continues

January 6, 2015 · 239 Views

With the Indonesian navy seeming to have located the tail section of the AirAsia flight 8501 downed on December 28th, 2014 with 162 people on board, opinions regarding the actual crash and reasons for it are becoming more formulated. With debris comprising relatively large sections of the plane, some experts have stated that the plane’s hitting the water was likely to be on a horizontal trajectory and not particularly violent. According to Jean-Paul Troadec, who was head of the official French air accident investigation agency when Air France’s flight 447 crashed in 2009, the size of the debris and the condition of the victims recovered indicates that the jet may have glided into the water. “The pieces of the aircraft are not so fragmented, it’s quite large pieces,” he said. “The fact that the bodies seem intact means most probably that the impact was not very violent and that the airplane was probably horizontal when it crashed into the sea.” he stated.
While two more bodies have been recovered, taking the total to 39, strong currents continued to hamper the work of divers and remotely operated vehicles. Frustratingly, despite the relatively shallow waters of the Java Sea, there has yet to be any discovery of the ‘ping’ signal from the aircraft’s black box. “The problem may be that … the bottom of the sea is very muddy in this area so it could happen that the recorder … is under the mud and cannot be heard,” Troadec made clear. “The other problem is the noise environment in this area due to the waves, due to the other vessels. We have no reason to suspect that the pingers are not working because they are designed to face a crash in the sea.” he continued.
It is known that the plane was caught in a relatively violent storm and one of the main hypotheses for the accident was the potential icing of the engines. This is partly refuted by the fact that Troadec has stated that even after engine failure planes are designed to glide and at lower altitudes, engines can be restarted. “When you examine the causes of the accident you can find that the weather is never the only cause of the accident….. It’s a factor because if the aircraft had not crossed the path of a thunderstorm most probably there should be no accident. So it’s a factor, but after this factor you certainly have other elements that the investigation will bring. Maybe human factor issues, maybe technical issue. Maybe all these factors combined together make the accident.” he went on to say.
Confusion still exists over whether the plane even had permission to fly between Singapore and Surabaya that Sunday with many believing that the airline had switched three of its authorized days from the originally agreed Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.