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Thursday, January 29, 2015

AviTrader Daily Aviation News Alert

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

February 20, 2015 · 542 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 · 640 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.


Fireblade Aviation selects FBO One to support operational management

January 28, 2015 · 56 Views

South African-based Fireblade Aviation (Pty) which manages the only Fixed Base Operation (FBO) at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport (ORT) has selected FBO One, from Amsterdam Software, as its online management tool to run its FBO and fuel management activity. Fireblade Aviation FBO, which became operational on September 1st 2014, is aiming to fulfil a market demand for a world-class international FBO facility at South Africa’s main airport. To this end it offers 24 hour refuelling from a brand new on-site fuel farm, flight planning, a full concierge service to arrange ground and onward arrangements including commercial aircraft connections, aircraft detailing, apron parking, ground power units, potable water, South African landing clearance, inflight catering, an exclusive VIP lounge, a dedicated spa, meeting rooms, and full crew facilities. International customs and immigration approval services are anticipated to be on offer by the end of the first quarter to complement the existing services.


Boeing Commercial Airplanes reports 4th-quarter 2014 revenue up 15%

January 28, 2015 · 295 Views

Boeing reported record fourth-quarter revenue of US$24.5bn on higher deliveries and core earnings per share (non-GAAP) that increased 23% to US$2.31, reflecting strong performance across the company. Fourth-quarter 2014 core operating earnings (non-GAAP) increased to US$2.3bn and GAAP earnings from operations increased to US$2.0bn. Fourth-quarter 2013 results included a US$406m non-cash charge (US$0.34 per share) related to the A-12 settlement. Revenue rose 5% in the full year to a record US$90.8bn and core earnings per share (non-GAAP) increased 22% to US$8.60 on record deliveries. Full-year 2014 GAAP earnings per share was US$7.38. Core earnings per share guidance for 2015 is set at between US$8.20 and US$8.40, while GAAP earnings per share guidance is established at between US$8.10 and US$8.30. Revenue guidance is between US$94.5 and US$96.5bn including commercial deliveries of between 750 and 755. Operating cash flow is expected to be greater than US$9.0bn.
Boeing Commercial Airplanes fourth-quarter revenue increased 15% to a record US$16.8bn on higher delivery volume and mix. Fourth-quarter operating margin was 9.3%, reflecting higher planned period costs and the dilutive impact of 787 deliveries partially offset by the delivery volume. During the quarter, the company began production on the fuselage stringers of the first 737 MAX airplane. The 737 program has won over 2,600 firm orders for the 737 MAX since launch. Also during the quarter, the company began final assembly of the 787-9 Dreamliner at the South Carolina facility and broke ground on the 777X composite centers in Everett and St. Louis. Commercial Airplanes booked 432 net orders during the quarter with a record 1,432 orders in 2014. Backlog remains strong with nearly 5,800 airplanes valued at a record US$440bn.


Southwest Airlines selects McMurdo Group emergency locator transmitters

January 28, 2015 · 265 Views

McMurdo Group, a global leader in end-to-end search and rescue and maritime domain awareness solutions, reported that its Kannad Survival Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELTs) are being integrated throughout Southwest Airlines’ (LUV) fleet of 636 Boeing (BA) 737 aircraft. ELTs, which are a key component of passenger and crew safety in the event of an emergency, enable first responders to locate the aircraft as soon as possible and potentially save more lives. Survival ELTs are removable from the aircraft and are stowed to facilitate usage by crew members in emergency situations. The ELTs were provided by McMurdo’s aviation partner, Aviall Services, Inc. McMurdo’s Kannad ELTs are already used by some of the world’s largest aircraft and airline brands including Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier, Pilatus, British Airways, United Airlines and China Airlines. The high-performance distress beacons provide the most innovative technology available including pin-point positioning and location data for optimal rescue response time.


ATR appoints new Senior Vice-President Programs

January 28, 2015 · 382 Views

Thierry Casale was appointed Senior Vice-President of the newly created Programs directorate of ATR. In this position, Mr. Casale will be in charge of supervising, coordinating and setting priorities in all serial developments as well as fleet in service activities, set to anticipate and meet customers’ expectations. He will manage product improvement projects, coordinate engineering activities and propose new developments to support the ATR fleet. In his role, Mr. Casale will perform program management, chief engineering, production (final assembly line, delivery), program quality and supply chain activities. He will report to ATR’s Chief Executive Officer Patrick de Castelbajac, and will sit on the Executive Committee.


JAL signs definitive agreement for purchase of 32 MRJ aircraft

January 28, 2015 · 87 Views

Japan Airlines (JAL) and Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation have signed an agreement for the purchase of thirty-two firm Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) aircraft. JAL and Mitsubishi Aircraft signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) on August 28th, 2014, and have moved forward to conclude this agreement on January 28th, 2015. JAL highly evaluates the performance of the next-generation MRJ aircraft and Mitsubishi Aircraft’s proposals for operational support following deliveries. Thus far, 407 MRJ (223 firm, 160 option, 24 purchase rights) are on order, including 32 from JAL. Deliveries to JAL are scheduled to commence in 2021. J-Air Corporation (J-AIR), the JAL Group’s 100% owned regional airline subsidiary, will operate the 32 MRJ aircraft.


Commercial Jet converts AEI’s 400th Freighter Conversion

January 28, 2015 · 290 Views

Commercial Jet is modifying Aeronautical Engineers’ (AEI) 400th freighter conversion. The 11 pallet position B737-400SF (MSN 25105) was converted at Commercial Jet’s Miami, Florida facility and delivered to TNT Airways S.A., in mid-December of 2014. Commercial Jet provided all of the touch labor for the passenger-to-freighter conversion, performed heavy maintenance and painted the aircraft.


US FAA sets new Air Safety Rule

January 28, 2015 · 97 Views

Six years after the fatal crash of a regional turboprop plane operated by Colgan Air near Buffalo, New York, killing all 49 on board and one man on the ground, the USFAA have now begun to implement new safety rules that are the last airline safety enhancements mandated by Congress in 2010 in response to the Colgan crash. The FAA is imposing the latest safety techniques on everything from pilot training to data analysis in one all-encompassing program rather than through piecemeal mandates. Carriers have been given three years from 8th January to implement these rules. Under the new rules, airlines will have to develop an improved safety culture which will encourage employees to report hazards as well as studying operational data to try and identify safety issues or anomalies that may raise safety concerns. The US Transportation Secretary, Antony Foxx, is quoted as saying, “Call it predictive safety management.”
These new regulations, which apply solely to US carriers, are expected to cost them in the region of US$135m over the next decade, however with the intention of reducing airline fatalities by 50% from 2010, the savings to airlines in the long run are expected to run to between US$105 and US$242m over the same 10 year period. The timing of these new rules could not be better after the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 last March with 239 passengers and crew on board, and the crash last month of Indonesia’s AirAsia flight QZ8501 near Borneo killing all 162 on board.
The FAA identified 123 air accidents between 2001 and 2010 that might have been preventable if these new measures had been in place, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said. He also indicated that 96 percent of those affected by the rule currently gather and share data. Nick Calio, Chief Executive of Airlines for America, made it clear that airlines are fierce competitors “except on safety. This is the next step in an ongoing process to find an ever better level of safety.”