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Thursday, February 19, 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.


PEMCO redelivers third B737 to CDI Cargo Airlines

February 18, 2015 · 320 Views

PEMCO World Air Services (PEMCO) redelivered its third 737-300F (MSN27518) to CDI Cargo Airlines (CDI). All three PEMCO freighter conversions to date have been performed at STAECO’s Jinan Shandong China facility. PEMCO and STAECO have partnered on about 50 Boeing 737-300 and 737-400 freighter modification projects since 2006. Today, PEMCO together with STAECO and other global partners provide seamless regional technical and spares support to Boeing 737 operators in China and beyond.


AJW Capital Partners purchases A319

February 18, 2015 · 406 Views

AJW Capital Partners Limited, part of the AJW Group of companies, has purchased an A319 (MSN 1068) aircraft. The deal covers the airframe only. Teardown is currently underway at eCube in St Athan, Wales, and components will support AJW’s global fleet of Airbus aircraft operating under power-by-the-hour contracts. AJW Capital managed the transaction on behalf of its private investor base of high net-worth individuals who, alongside AJW Aviation, seek to realise revenue from the conversion of airframes into component assets. AJW Capital is the AJW Group’s principal investing division and is responsible for the purchase, sale and lease of large aviation-related capital assets, including whole aircraft and engines.


Avtrade appoints new Stock/AOG Sales Director

February 18, 2015 · 378 Views

Avtrade announced the latest stage of its strategic sales restructure, with the appointment of Brian McGuinness as the new Stock/AOG Sales Director. As part of this role, Brian will be managing the Avtrade AOG team, responsible for exceptional AOG support and service to all customer accounts and ensuring greater stock availability for fast and effective responses to AOG enquiries 24/7, 365 days a year.  An established aviation professional, Brian boasts a wealth of industry experience with a career in aviation spanning over 15 years.


GA Telesis and L-3 sign avionics services agreement

February 18, 2015 · 400 Views

GA Telesis has signed an avionics services agreement with L-3 Electronic System Services (L-3 ESS), a division of L-3 Aviation Products (L-3 AP). L-3 ESS will provide total avionics support for OEM and third-party components on Boeing and Airbus aircraft, initially focusing on the 737NG, 747, 757, 767 and A320 platforms. As the program evolves, L-3 ESS will look to expand its support to cover other commercial and military fleet types for GA Telesis.
“GA Telesis customers will receive the value of OEM support and the benefits of 50 years of focused MRO capabilities at a reasonable and predictable cost,” said Trevor Ratcliffe, L-3 ESS President. “L-3 ESS will also provide GA Telesis with turnkey supply chain solutions that will streamline operations, maximize savings and further enhance the capabilities that GA Telesis can offer to its customers.”


Heroux-Devtek announces strategic alliance with C&L to enhance in-service support for SAAB 340 aircraft operators

February 18, 2015 · 320 Views

Héroux-Devtek, a leading international manufacturer of aerospace products, announced that its subsidiary Héroux-Devtek UK (formerly APPH) has entered into a strategic alliance with C&L Aviation Group in the United States to enhance the global maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services and support available to operators of all variants of the Saab 340 aircraft family. This new alliance will combine Héroux-Devtek’s expertise as a landing gear designer and manufacturer with C&L’s operator and aircraft service provider capability and knowledge. It will also further enhance the worldwide support of the landing gear that is already available via Saab in Sweden, as well as REX and ACS in the Australasia market, while providing the Corporation with increased exposure into the attractive aftermarket business. The Saab 340 aircraft remains the most attractive option in the 30-seat class with no new aircraft available to replace it. More than 450 aircraft were built between 1983 and 1999. Héroux-Devtek remains committed to working with operators to manage the direct operating costs and provide a platform for many years of continued, cost effective, in-service life.


Alaska Airlines orders six Boeing Next-Generation 737-900ERs

February 18, 2015 · 386 Views

Alaska Airlines’ fleet of fuel-efficient Boeing airplanes is growing again. Seattle’s hometown airline is purchasing six more Boeing 737-900 Extended Range aircraft, valued at US$594m, Boeing’s current list price. The new planes, four scheduled for delivery in 2016 and two in 2017, bring Alaska’s total of locally manufactured jets on order to 79. “We’re delighted Boeing is able to expedite delivery of four of these new 737-900ERs, increasing the number of planes we’ll receive next year to 19,” said Andrew Harrison, Alaska Airlines executive vice president and chief revenue officer. “These comfortable and highly efficient jets will expand and strengthen our already leading Pacific Northwest network.”


Kaman awarded 777/767 fixed trailing edge kits LTA by Boeing

February 18, 2015 · 400 Views

Kaman has been awarded a multi-year contract for the production of fixed trailing edge (FTE) kits and assemblies for the 777 and 767 commercial programs. The award from Boeing Commercial Airplanes is a continuation of the work Kaman has performed for Boeing since the launch of the 767 program almost thirty years ago. To date Kaman has provided more than 1,000 FTE kits and assemblies for each of the 777 and 767 programs since 1995 and 1986, respectively. Kaman is a leading supplier of integrated structures including metallic and composite structural assemblies and detail metallic parts for OEM and Tier I aerospace companies engaged in commercial and military aircraft programs. Kaman provides complete aerostructure solutions including design, tooling, manufacturing, testing, and product support.


Virgin America reports full year 2014 net earnings of US$84.4m

February 18, 2015 · 392 Views

Virgin America reported fourth quarter 2014 operating income of US$34.2m and net income of US$28.1m, excluding special items. This represents the highest net income for a fourth quarter in Company history and the ninth consecutive quarter of year-over-year improvement in income, excluding special items. On a GAAP basis, operating and net income for the fourth quarter of 2014 and 2013 were US$10.1m and US$3.9m, respectively. 2014 full year net income of US$84.4m, excluding special items. Net income increased by US$74.2m over 2013 – a seven-fold increase, and was the highest in the Company’s history. Operating and net income on a GAAP basis for the full year 2014 were US$96.4m and US$60.1m, respectively.


Northrop Grumman delivers 1,000th distributed Aperture System for the F-35

February 18, 2015 · 447 Views

Northrop Grumman recently supplied the 1,000th AN/AAQ-37 Distributed Aperture System (DAS) sensor for integration on the F-35 Lightning II aircraft. The six infrared DAS sensors on the F-35 provide full spherical situational awareness to the pilot, day and night. The DAS provides a revolutionary capability to autonomously detect and track aircraft and missiles in every direction, while projecting video directly into the pilot’s helmet mounted display and eliminating cockpit obscurities. With DAS, the pilot has an unprecedented view and awareness of the surrounding world. In flight testing, the DAS has demonstrated the ability to expand into additional missions and platforms, including ballistic missile defense, hostile ground fire detection and unmanned aircraft operations. DAS flight demonstrations have included tracking a rocket to over 800 miles (1300km) distance.


ARKIA commits to Airbus A330-900neo

February 18, 2015 · 428 Views

ARKIA Israeli Airlines, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Airbus for up to four A330-900neo aircraft. The commitment makes ARKIA the first Airbus widebody customer in Israel and the first customer for the type in the region. The aircraft will help ARKIA to expand their growing operations into long haul business and leisure markets with the world’s most popular wide-body. The A330-900neo is the most cost-efficient in its size category, offering a reduction in fuel burn of 14% per seat, an increase in non-stop flying range of up to 400 nautical miles and the lowest possible maintenance costs. ARKIA’s A330-900neo will join the four A321neo aircraft ordered at the Farnborough International Airshow in 2012. With Airbus’ Cross Crew Qualification concept, pilots and engineers can transition from the single-aisle A320 Family, to the twin-aisle A330 quickly. Airlines can operate and maintain both types with the same pool of pilots and engineers. The A330neo also offers the latest in In-Flight entertainment either 4th generation or light IFE. Moreover, it offers connectivity to the ground should it be mobile telephony and internet access services and in parallel on board wireless services enabling passengers to access Wi-Fi content and services on their personal electronic devices.


US draft rules on drones not seen as hugely beneficial to a burgeoning market

February 18, 2015 · 421 Views

By the end of 2025 it is anticipated that the civil uses of drones will exceed military ones in financial terms, according to a report issued by IDTechEx. “The biggest market sub-sector will be small UAVs that are not toys or personal, with US$2bn in sales in 2025 generating over US$20bn in benefits in agriculture, border protection, parcel delivery, logistics such as warehousing, coastguard, customs, search and rescue, medical emergency, malaria research, mine detection, protection of rare species, movie production and so on,” says Dr Harrop, Chairman of IDTechEx.
As an example, recently Amazon underlined that they are heavily committed to package delivery to customers by using drones once they obtain the regulatory support needed. The biggest internet retailer in China, Alibaba, has already trialled drone deliveries there, Google has tested drone deliveries in Australia, and DHL have performed deliveries using unmanned aircraft to an island in Germany, this being the first authorized drone use in Europe.
However, in the United States, the long-awaited draft rules from the Federal Aviation Administration have now been released, and so far the impression is that a considerable amount of negotiating will be required before the likes of Amazon can see their dreams come true. While on the one hand some of the restrictions seem to make perfect sense, others seem overly restrictive. As such the FAA would need an unmanned aircraft pilot to obtain a special pilot certificate, avoid bystanders, and fly only during daytime. Flying speed is limited to 100 miles per hour (160 kph) and altitude to 500 feet (152 m) above ground. The rules also require pilots to remain in ‘line of sight’ of the drone they are operating, which is seen as a major restriction for areas such as inspection of electrical towers, pipelines and crops, though the FAA felt this problem could be solved through the use of spotters working together with the pilot.
Despite drones suddenly becoming the ‘in’ gadget, these rules have actually been 10 years in the making and still require public discussion before ratification can take place. “This rule does not deal with beyond line of sight, but does allow for the use of a visual observer to augment line of sight by the operator of the unmanned aircraft,” FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said, going on to say that the agency had attempted to be “flexible” in their approach to creating the rules. He also indicated that they had created a framework and that the rules would change as a result of communication with appropriate industries and technology developments.
As for the practical side, commercial drone operators would have to be at least 17 years old, pass an aeronautical knowledge test, and be vetted by the Transportation Security Administration. However there would be no requirement to go through the medical tests or flight hours needed by manned aircraft pilots. The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), lauded the draft, with Brian Wynne, the group’s President, calling it a “good first step in an evolutionary process.” However the privacy advocates were still concerned there were insufficient limits on when law enforcement agencies would be allowed to use drones for surveillance.