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Saturday, February 14, 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.


Bombardier Aerospace reports fourth quarter and year end results

February 13, 2015 · 348 Views

Bombardier Aerospace’s revenues amounted to US$3.3bn for the three-month period ended December 31st, 2014, compared to US$2.9bn for the same period last fiscal year, an increase of 15.8%. For the year, revenues totalled US$10.5bn, compared to US$9.4bn last fiscal year, an increase of 11.9%. Negative EBIT totalled US$1.3bn, or (39.2)% of revenues, for the fourth quarter, compared to EBIT of US$93m, or 3.2% for the same period last fiscal year. For the year, negative EBIT totalled US$995m, or (9.5)%, compared to EBIT of US$418m, or 4.5%, last fiscal year. For the fourth quarter, EBIT before special items totalled US$54m, or 1.6% of revenues, compared to US$94m, or 3.3%, for the same period last fiscal year. For the year, EBIT before special items totalled US$437m, or 4.2%, compared to US$388m, or 4.1%, last fiscal year.

Free cash flow amounted to US$29m (including net additions in PP&E and intangible assets of US$449m) for the fourth quarter ended December 31st, 2014, compared to US$87m (including net additions in PP&E and intangible assets of US$591m) for the same period last fiscal year. For the year, free cash flow usage amounted to US$1.1bn (including net additions in PP&E and intangible assets of US$1.9bn), compared to a usage of US$1.2bn last fiscal year (including net additions in PP&E and intangible assets of US$2.2bn).

Bombardier Aerospace delivered a total of 101 aircraft during the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2014, compared to 83 for the same period last fiscal year, and received 67 net orders, compared to 252, for the same period last fiscal year. The group delivered 290 aircraft for the year, compared to 238 last fiscal year. The net orders reached 282, compared to 388 last fiscal year. Its backlog reached a level of US$36.6bn as at December 31st, 2014, compared to US$37.3bn as at December 31st, 2013.


Gogo Commercial Aviation receives AS9100 certification

February 13, 2015 · 247 Views

Gogo, a leading global aero communications service provider, announced that its commercial aviation operation has earned AS9100 aerospace quality certification. AS9100 is the internationally recognized Quality Management System standard for the aviation, space and defense industries. The certification satisfies a major requirement that must be satisfied in order for Gogo’s technologies to become a line-fit option with aircraft manufacturers. Gogo has held this certification for its business aviation operation for several years.


Satcom Direct strengthens support across the globe with new offices in Australia, Canada and the U.S.

February 13, 2015 · 255 Views

With the new locations in Melbourne, Australia; Ottawa, Canada and Denver, Colorado; Satcom Direct now has nine international offices and five U.S. operations. At Satcom Direct’s new offices, technical, on-site staff members provide training, support and satcom system consultation for pilots, flight operations staff and maintenance crews while development teams work to bring new products to market. “This expansion supports our mission to provide total solutions to our customers. We are where they are,” said David Greenhill, Satcom Direct president. “Each new location was strategically selected to serve our expanding customer base.” Satcom Direct is a leading provider of satellite voice and broadband data solutions for flight deck and cabin communications serving business, military, government, and heads of state aircraft. The company is a premier Inmarsat Distribution Partner, Iridium Service Partner, and ViaSat Yonder’s preferred reseller, supporting more than 90% of all corporate flight departments worldwide.


Delta TechOps now offers GE CF34-8 Aircraft Engine Maintenance Services to MRO Customers

February 13, 2015 · 420 Views

Delta Air Lines’ maintenance division and its maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) provider business, will now be offering six variants of the CF34-8 jet engine to its list of aircraft engines eligible for MRO services: CF34-8C5, CF34-8C5A1, CF34-8C5A2, CF34-8C5B1, CF34-8E5, CF34-8E5A1. As the best-selling regional jet engine in its class, the CF34 by General Electric has become a commercial aviation industry favorite. The CF34-8 aircraft engine can generally be found on Bombardier CRJ and Embraer regional jets. It has become the industry standard on 70 to 100 seat aircraft, and airlines have a critical need for expert CF34-8 jet engine maintenance that is performed cost-effectively with short turnaround times.


Gulf carriers continue to erode US Airlines’ market share

February 13, 2015 · 406 Views

The writing was on the wall when just over 12 months ago we reported that the African airline industry was losing out heavily to Middle Eastern-based airlines such as Emirates, Etihad and Saudi Airlines. We had seen Middle Eastern carriers outstrip performances from all other regions, where total passenger traffic (both domestic and international) was up 12.9% in terms of revenue passenger kilometre (RPK) growth in the month of October 2013 alone.
Today it would seem that the US is now under similar pressure as a 55 page white paper, yet to be published, has revealed that the combined share of bookings of flights between the United States and the Indian subcontinent for United, American and Delta had fallen to 34% in 2014 from 39% in 2008. This 5% drop also includes bookings for these airlines’ joint-venture partners – British Airways and Air France.
Over the same period of time, Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways and Emirates have increased their market share from a meager 12% in 2008 to an impressive 40% in 2014. Where Southeast Asia is concerned, the market share for US airlines and their joint-venture partners’ has been seen to fall from 43% to 36% , the region including Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand. The three Gulf airlines however have seen their market share for Southeast Asia increase from just 1% to 13% over the same period of time.
Concerns have been raised in the US that the ‘Open Skies’ agreement created 10 years ago, is not working to their advantage and that it should now be scrapped. The white paper also cites confidential financial information revealing that the Gulf carriers have been receiving state subsidies to allow them to be more competitive on price. The principal area where these subsidies seem to be involved is in aircraft acquisition. Any form of subsidy breaches US trade policy and creates an uneven playing field. The report goes on to say that loans, tax exemptions and other support has exceeded USD$40bn since 2004, which the Gulf carriers have utilized to pay expenses that airlines have to typically cover themselves. “We fully expect the government to act on the evidence,” Ben Hirst, Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer for Delta Air Lines said, adding, “From the US airlines’ standpoint, we’re competing with (foreign) governments, not private businesses.”
As far as the ‘Open Skies’ agreement is concerned, travellers say that cutting prices and improving service is exactly what they want the agreement to achieve. Erik Hansen, a senior director at the US Travel Association, a non-profit industry group based in Washington said, “From the passengers’ point of view, they want as many choices as possible.”.
Things look no better for the US airlines with their routes to Milan either. Since Emirates targeted the airport as a stopover point for their flights between Dubai and the USA, their market share has risen dramatically to 19%, while US airlines’ and their partners’ share has fallen 7% to 78%.