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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

AviTrader Daily Aviation News Alert - FINAL CHECK

This is an overview of all articles linked within the selected daily newsletter.
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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.


Finnair traffic performance in January 2014

February 9, 2015 · 72 Views

In January, Finnair’s overall capacity grew by 2.6% and traffic grew by 1.2% year‐on‐year. Passenger load factor was 76.5%, down 1.1 point compared to the previous year.


C&L moves into larger aircraft market with CRJ 700

February 9, 2015 · 298 Views

A CRJ 700 currently in C&L’s hangar for heavy checks, modifications and painting marks the company’s next phase of growth into the larger aircraft market. Already known throughout the aviation industry for its service to Saab 340s, Dash 8s, and, more recently, CRJ 200s, C&L’s US$5m expansion last year has allowed the company to apply its solid history of safety and excellence to larger aircraft. C&L’s 120,000-ft² facility, completed in 2014, tripled its previous hangar capacity and added a 17,000-ft² aircraft paint hangar capable of accommodating two CRJ 700s simultaneously. This growth, plus C&L’s addition of nearly 20 skilled technicians, means that the company can service more and larger aircraft with increasing efficiency and shorter turnaround times. Several more CRJ 700s are queued for service at C&L after the current aircraft leaves the hangar.


Timothy Wahlberg to join mba

February 9, 2015 · 330 Views

Timothy Wahlberg, former CEO of Evergreen Helicopters and former Chairman of Helicopter Association International (HAI), joins Morten Beyer & Agnew (“mba”) to lead its expanding helicopter division. Mr. Wahlberg will be responsible for valuation and investment analysis for the firm’s global clientele.


Rolls-Royce awarded production and support contracts valued up to US$442m for F-35B Liftsystem

February 9, 2015 · 353 Views

Rolls-Royce has been awarded three contracts totalling up to US$442m to produce and support LiftSystems for F-35B Lightning II aircraft, including price reductions from prior contracts. The new contracts cover Low Rate Initial Production of 17 LiftSystems for F-35B aircraft, plus support, for two contract periods (LRIP 7-8), and were agreed between Rolls-Royce and Pratt Whitney, the propulsion provider for the F-35 program. The LRIP 8 contract reflects a reduction in average price per LiftSystem since LRIP 6, as Rolls-Royce continues to demonstrate success in cost reduction efforts for the F-35 Lightning II program. LRIP7 also includes delivery of the 50th LiftFan for installation in an F-35B, as the LiftSystem continues to mature in production. The 50th LiftFan meets all Initial Operational Capability (IOC) requirements for the US Marine Corps.


AAR now offers HALT/HASS product testing and technical support

February 9, 2015 · 351 Views

AAR, the global aerospace and defense contractor that provides products and services to commercial and military fleets, announces it now offers accelerated reliability testing and engineering services for mission-critical products developed for aerospace/aeronautics, automotive, energy, transit/rail, industrial and medical devices at its facility in Goldsboro. Using specialized equipment, AAR performs Highly Accelerated Life Testing (HALT) and Highly Accelerated Stress Screening (HASS) to identify design weakness early in the product lifecycle. What’s more, AAR test services provide advantages such as unparalleled technical support, consultation on stress profiles and flexible scheduling options. HALT/HASS testing is superior to analytical methods in identifying product weaknesses and reducing early life failures. The company plans to roll out additional engineering services, including advanced consultation on stress profiles; fixture design/build; test design and part monitoring; post-test reporting; physics of failure modeling; and design for reliability consultation.


C&L becomes Blue Sky Network authorized installation center

February 9, 2015 · 183 Views

C&L Aerospace has been appointed an authorized installation center for Blue Sky Network satellite tracking and communication systems. C&L will offer the full line of Blue Sky’s aviation network equipment and complete installations at its Bangor, Maine, facility. Blue Sky Network offers satellite tracking and communication systems for the aviation industry. Their web portal, New Sky Router, is a complete, cloud-based solution for tracking global assets, allowing users to manage their fleet without investing in or maintaining additional hardware and software. C&L is currently installing two Blue Sky Network products on an aircraft scheduled to leave the hangar this month.


LMI Aerospace signs strategic agreement with Spirit AeroSystems

February 9, 2015 · 350 Views

LMI Aerospace, a leading supplier of structural assemblies, kits and components and provider of design engineering services to the aerospace and defense industries, has signed an agreement with Spirit AeroSystems to become a strategically aligned partner. The agreement supports a longer relationship for the two companies. “It’s exciting to extend our partnering relationship with LMI. We at Spirit value their sustained commitment to high standards of quality and delivery dependability, and with our increasing production volumes, we will rely on it,” said Alan Young, Chief Procurement Officer/VP Spirit Global Supply Chain. The majority of the components and assemblies covered by this agreement support the Boeing 737NG, 737MAX, 777 and 787 aircraft.


CHC Helicopter appoints Karl S. Fessenden as new CEO

February 9, 2015 · 386 Views

CHC Group, the parent company of CHC Helicopter, has appointed Karl Fessenden chief executive officer and a member of the board of directors effective Feb. 9th, replacing William Amelio, who will be leaving the company. Mr. Fessenden joins CHC from GE, where over his 20-year career at the company he successfully led multiple global service business units, at GE Energy and GE Aviation.


Dassault Aviation’s new Falcon 8X takes to the air

February 9, 2015 · 240 Views

Dassault Aviation’s new flagship, the ultra-long range Falcon 8X, successfully completed its first flight a little more than one month after rollout. Aircraft 8X s/n 01 lifted off from Dassault Aviation’s Mérignac plant near Bordeaux at 2:00 PM. The aircraft leveled off at 5,000 ft (1,500 m) and raised its landing gear before beginning flight handling maneuvers and system tests at 15,000 ft (4,500 m). It later climbed to FL400 (12,000 m) accelerating to Mach 0.80. The aircraft subsequently descended to 5,000 ft for approach and landing at 3:45 PM. Falcon 8X s/n 02 and 03 are scheduled to take to the air in the coming months. Each will take part in the flight test program that is expected to last around 500 flight hours. Serial number three will leave midyear for the Dassault Aviation completion facility in Little Rock, Arkansas, where it will be fitted with a complete interior and undergo a stringent system test campaign.


American Airlines Group reports January load factor of 78.2%

February 9, 2015 · 209 Views

American Airlines Group’s total traffic for the month was down 2.8% versus January 2014. Total capacity was down 0.2% versus January 2014. Total passenger load factor was 78.2% for the month of January, down 2.1 points versus January 2014.


Southwest Airlines’ traffic up 8.6% in January 2015

February 9, 2015 · 217 Views

Southwest Airlines reported that traffic in January 2015 increased 8.6% from January 2014, while capacity increased 10.2% from the January 2014 level. The January 2015 load factor was 75.1% compared with 76.3% in January 2014.


Nepal Airlines fleet renewal underway with delivery of first A320

February 9, 2015 · 195 Views

Nepal’s national flag carrier, Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) has taken delivery of the first Airbus A320 aircraft sporting a new striking company livery and equipped with Sharklet fuel saving wing tip devices as the airline moves to an all Airbus jet fleet.  With its home base in Kathmandu, the A320 was chosen for NAC’s single aisle fleet for its unrivalled economics, performance and capability demanded by high altitude airports. The aircraft has Required Navigation Performance (RNP) capability built-in, which enables the aircraft to fly precisely along predefined routes using state-of-the-art on-board navigation systems.


Lufthansa warns staff that further savings will be required

February 9, 2015 · 308 Views

It is no secret that Lufthansa has some of the highest running costs in the airline business and, consequently, has become vulnerable to low-cost competitors such as Ryanair and easyject. Average yields fell by more than 3% in 2014 and any cost cuts performed recently within the group have been far from sufficient to compensate for this staff were told in a letter Lufthansa board members Karl Ulrich Garnadt and Bettina Volkens sent out on February 5th. In addition it stated “The competition knows our cost position and knows that this is an area where we are vulnerable… Our cost level is now 30 to 40% higher than that of our direct competitors such as easyJet or Turkish Airlines.”
2014 was a year which saw its pilots strike ten times over wages and early-retirement pension rights, the biggest threat coming from the company’s intended expansion of Eurowings. Under chief executive Carsten Spohr, Lufthansa wants to expand Eurowings, the company’s regional airline, into a low-cost carrier and has been negotiating with airline staff to try and reduce costs on some routes that are popular with tourists and as a consequence are more price sensitive.
Despite remedial measures taken to reduce costs, Lufthansa remains in a perilous situation as it looks like staffing costs are going to increase, plus other costs beyond the company’s control are rising, including airport fees and air traffic control charges. Though a rise in fuel costs would affect every airline, such an occurrence would place the airline on very thin ice.
It is not even as if Lufthansa is a just sitting duck either. Recently they have seen Etihad and Darwin Airline SA (which they have rebranded as Etihad Regional and in which they plan to buy a 33.3% stake), scale back in the Swiss travel market. “Swiss and Lufthansa have engaged in a series of abusive actions aimed at forcing us out of the Swiss market,” Darwin Chief Executive Officer Maurizio Merlo said in the statement, ranging from termination of a wet lease contract and insurance policies to “dumping fares” on its routes,” according to Bloomberg business. In November last year Swiss terminated a wet lease cooperation with Darwin, in turn changing to Lufthansa’s Austrian subsidiary as a means of increasing its capacity on its Zurich-Lugano flights by 50%. Having now established a base in Geneva, the airline will fly Geneva-Lugano 16 times a week.
In September Emirates upgraded one of its thrice-daily Frankfurt-Dubai flights to an Airbus Group NV A380s. However to give you a true sense of what Lufthansa is facing, in January Qatar put the most modern airliner available, an A350, on its Frankfurt-Doha route. The reason given by Akbar Al Baker, Chief Executive of Qatar: “We chose Frankfurt because sometimes I like to show off my product to airlines that object our entering into their markets.”


American Airlines signs firm order for 24 CRJ900 NextGen aircraft

February 9, 2015 · 233 Views

American Airlines has signed a firm order for 24 CRJ900 NextGen regional jets. This order was announced on December 30th, 2014 and followed American exercising 24 of 40 previously booked CRJ900 NextGen aircraft options. The options were originally acquired as part of American’s large regional jet order announced in December 2013. As previously announced by Bombardier, based on the list price for the CRJ900 NextGen aircraft, the firm order is valued at approximately US$1.14bn.