Friday, February 06, 2015
AviTrader Daily Aviation News Alert
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
February 5, 2015 · 254 Views
The long-term contract signed between Thai Airways and AFI KLM E&M involves component availability and repair services for eight Boeing 787 aircraft ordered by the Thai flag carrier, with four of them already in operation. The agreement covers a significant scope of parts in support of THAI 787 operations including consumables, rotables, tooling & equipment, as well as APU and engine nacelle support, making AFI KLM E&M the one-stop shop for the Dreamliners of its new long term customer.
February 5, 2015 · 302 Views
CFM International reported that François Bastin has been named the company’s newest executive vice president. As part of the CFM Executive Team, Mr. Bastin is responsible for overseeing programs carried out by CFM International and, along with his counterpart at GE Aviation, Allen Paxson, serves as the primary interface between Snecma (Safran) and GE. Within the Snecma organization, he has also been appointed CFM programs director. Cédric Goubet, who had served as CFM executive vice president since October 2011, has been appointed executive vice president of the Commercial Engines division for Snecma (Safran).
February 5, 2015 · 75 Views
American Airlines and Korean Air have signed an agreement to begin codesharing. Pending regulatory approval, Korean Air will place its code on American Airlines flights between Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) and Incheon International Airport (ICN) in Seoul, South Korea. American began serving Seoul in May 2013. Through American’s extensive network from Dallas/Fort Worth, customers traveling from South Korea have one-stop access to nearly 200 additional destinations throughout North America, the Caribbean and Latin America.
February 5, 2015 · 104 Views
Air Canada has reached a tentative collective agreement with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) for the airline’s U.S.-based workforce. The agreement is subject to ratification by the union membership. Details of the agreement will not be released pending ratification and approval by the Air Canada board of directors.The IBT represents approximately 650 Air Canada airport, cargo and call centre employees based in the United States .This tentative agreement with the IBT follows on the conclusion in October 2014 of a new agreement with Air Canada’s pilots on collective agreement terms for ten years.
February 5, 2015 · 97 Views
For the month of January, Air Canada reported a record system load factor of 80.1%, versus 80% in January 2014, on a system-wide capacity increase of 8.3%. On this additional capacity, system wide traffic for January increased 8.4%.
February 5, 2015 · 70 Views
AgustaWestland has completed the delivery of the Italian Police’s AW139 intermediate twin helicopters at the end of December 2014. Deliveries started in mid-2013 and now eight aircraft are in service at five different bases in central and southern Italy comprising three aircraft in Pratica di Mare close to Rome, two helicopters in Reggio Calabria and one each in Bari, Palermo and Fenosu. Designated UH-139C, the Italian Police’s AW139 configuration includes a high definition latest generation FLIR, satellite communication system, searchlight, rescue hoist, cabin mission console and a high definition video down link.
February 5, 2015 · 117 Views
Avianca Holdings S.A. has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Airbus for 100 A320neo Family aircraft. Avianca will base its fleet renewal strategy on the A320neo Family. “After a thorough technical evaluation, we selected the A320neo Family for its excellent fuel efficiency, reliability and comfort,” said Fabio Villegas Ramirez, Avianca Chief Executive Officer. “These qualities are essential to further our growth and fleet modernization strategy and improve our passenger experience.” Avianca has partnered with Airbus on its fleet modernization and expansion programs for years. In 2012, Avianca ordered 51 A320 Family aircraft, including 33 A320neo aircraft. The airline group has combined orders for nearly 200 Airbus aircraft, with nearly 130 currently in operation.
February 5, 2015 · 313 Views
The Irish facility operated by Lufthansa Technik as part of its European aircraft overhaul network is now called Lufthansa Technik Shannon. What used to be Shannon Aerospace (SAL) – a wholly-owned subsidiary of Lufthansa Technik AG – has thus joined Hamburg, Berlin, Budapest, Malta and Sofia as one of the six European base maintenance facilities in name as well as in practice. The change in name coincides with the 25th Anniversary of the company which provides services to over 50 airlines and employs a workforce of more than 500. The renaming of the company, which is located at Shannon Airport in western Ireland, is not yet visible everywhere and will be implemented step by step over the coming months. Lufthansa Technik Shannon specializes in the overhaul of short- and medium-range aircraft. The services offered include basic overhauls (D-checks) and annual checks (C-checks) on the Boeing 737, 757, 767 and the Airbus A320 family of aircraft. Lufthansa Technik Shannon also specializes in the provision of extensive services to the aircraft leasing business, and here it has the location advantage that over 50% of the world’s largest aircraft leasing companies are based in Dublin and Shannon. The number of leasing returns and transition projects is definitely on the rise. The fully owned subsidiary of Lufthansa Technik is certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the American Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
February 5, 2015 · 311 Views
Qatar Airways has acquired a 9.99% stake in International Airlines Group (IAG). Both IAG and Qatar Airways have a close relationship already as part of the oneworld alliance and IAG welcomes Qatar Airways’ statement that it would look to strengthen existing commercial ties. Commenting on the share acquisition, Willie Walsh, IAG chief executive, said: “We’re delighted to have Qatar Airways, one of the world’s premier airlines, as a long term supportive shareholder. We will talk to them about what opportunities exist to work more closely together and further IAG’s ambitions as the leading global airline group”.
February 5, 2015 · 118 Views
IAG traffic in January increased by 5.5% versus the same month in 2014, while Group capacity rose by 5.7% year over year. The load factor for the month of January was 77.0%, down 0.1 point compared to the previous year.
February 5, 2015 · 134 Views
Subsequent to the tragic air crash on Wednesday in Taipei, its Civil Aerospace Authority (CAA) has grounded all Taiwanese-registered ATR 72s for the purpose of carrying out safety checks to establish if they meet the CAA’s standards. This not only affects TransAsia, but also Uni Air, another local carrier. Including the crashed aircraft, TransAsia operates six ATR 72-500s and four ATR 72-600s. Uni Air operates 12 ATR 72-600s. Fred Wu, the President of TransAsia Airways, indicated to journalists that TransAsia was complying with the request.
“The airline, as requested from the CAA, is specifically checking all ATR aircraft in the fleet. They have not finished checking one until this morning,” he said. “Once we have one finished, CAA will confirm the results before we start flying that aircraft again.” In addition, the CAA has banned TransAsia from applying for new traffic rights for a year, according to CNA, Taiwan’s state news agency and the fleet of ATR planes will remain grounded until further notice.
Prior to the ATR 72-600’s crash into the Keelung River, the plane had flown three times that day. 32 people are confirmed as having died in the crash, while 15 survivors are being treated in local hospitals. 11 of the 58 people on board the plane, which included 53 passengers, two pilots and three cabin crew, are still unaccounted for. This accident takes the number of fatal incidents involving ATR planes to 11, including last July’s fatal crash on Penghu Island, though that was an older 72-500 model.
Despite the number of accidents, ATR planes do have a good reputation. Desmond Ross, principal of DRA Professional Aviation Services, a consultancy for airlines and aviation authorities, is quoted as saying: “(The ATR 72) is actually a very good aircraft — it’s been around for a while. It’s used extensively in regional services, including by Virgin in Australia. Generally speaking it’s a good aircraft. It doesn’t have reputation as a difficult plane to fly. I know one guy who has flown them in Africa and Australia who thinks it’s a great aircraft. I can’t speak to them being dangerous.”
The ATR’s cost-efficiency is the reason for its popularity with airlines, especially those operating in the low-cost sector and less-popular routes which usually transport smaller numbers of passengers. The ATR is seen as a workhorse for the Asia Pacific turboprop fleet.