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Friday, February 20, 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.

Universal Avionics FMS selected for Piedmont Airlines Dash 8 fleet

February 19, 2015 · 295 Views

Universal Avionics has been selected by Piedmont Airlines, headquartered in Salisbury, Maryland, to provide GPS-based Flight Management Systems (FMS) for retrofit to their Dash 8 series 100 fleet. This contract is in addition to a previous award to provide Multi-function Displays for this same fleet. The new FMS will support operations with all procedural leg types in accordance with ARINC 424. This sophisticated capability allows flying the most complex procedures such as a heading to altitude, precision arc, procedure turn, holding pattern and more – all the necessary maneuvers required to accurately fly SIDs, STARs and approaches. The Flight Planning function is designed to provide the pilot with the quickest, most efficient means of creating a flight plan, and the most pilot-friendly method of altering the flight plan elements as desired or as required by Air Traffic Control (ATC). The integration through Field Aviation’s Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) package supports future systems growth flexibility, as Piedmont’s business and operational needs dictate. Modifications will be completed in 2015.

Chameleon and Flying Service collaborate to create “ESP”, the new economy seat

February 19, 2015 · 315 Views

Chameleon Products, a specialist interior supplier and Flying Service, a UK based Aircraft seat manufacturer, who have been producing seats for over 50 years, have collaborated to produce a new economy seat called ESP. The ESP (Extendable Seat Product) converts from a standard economy seat into a lounger seat which enables passengers to lie flat in a sleeping position or to relax with other travelling companions or family. The seat which has been produced can also be used to differentiate new areas in the cabin and provide new revenue streams for airlines, by allowing them to utilise unsold seat places on flights offering the “ESP” option or by offering “ESP” as a part of a reward or upgrade package. The ESP seat can be produced for any aircraft type and certification is about 12 weeks. The product can quickly enter service with A330 operators in particular as Flying Service already have a 16G A330 approved standard economy seat at a 34 inch pitch. However the ESP seat has been designed to go into a 29 inch pitch allowing more seats to be put into the aircraft. The seat when not in its ESP mode can be used as a normal economy seat.

Gulf Air and Lufthansa Technik extend landing gear contract

February 19, 2015 · 305 Views

Gulf Air, the Kingdom of Bahrain’s national carrier, and Lufthansa Technik AG have early extended their existing cooperation in landing gear overhaul for the airline’s Airbus A320, A321 and A330 fleet. The new contract, which commenced in February 2015, will end in December 2020. The contract comprises landing gear overhaul and exchange for complete shipsets. The overhaul work will be executed at the Lufthansa Technik landing gear shop in Hamburg/Germany. Lufthansa Technik first entered into a landing gear agreement with Gulf Air in 2011 and has performed ten overhaul events in total, to date.

Ulf Hüttmeyer appointed as Etihad Airways SVP Finance Equity Partners

February 19, 2015 · 312 Views

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has appointed Ulf Hüttmeyer as its Senior Vice President Finance Equity Partners, effective April 1st, 2015. Mr Hüttmeyer joins the Abu Dhabi-based airline from airberlin where he held the position of Chief Financial Officer for the past nine years. Mr Hüttmeyer was one of the architects of the 2011 transaction in which Etihad Airways became a minority equity investor in airberlin. The new role will see Mr Hüttmeyer work closely with Etihad Airways’ equity partner airlines, and lead the profitability analysis in Etihad Airways and build key relationships with global suppliers.

Lockheed Martin names Rod Makoske new SVP, Corporate Engineering, Technology and Operations and Keoki Jackson Chief Technology Officer

February 19, 2015 · 322 Views

Lockheed Martin has appointed Rodney A. Makoske, to senior vice president, Corporate Engineering, Technology, and Operations and a corporate officer, and Dana (Keoki) Jackson as vice president and chief technology officer (CTO). Both appointments are effective immediately and follow the retirement of Ray Johnson on February 1st, 2015.

Aircastle reports fourth quarter and full year 2014 results

February 19, 2015 · 307 Views

Aircastle reported total revenues for the fourth quarter were US$238.3m, an increase of US$46.3m, or 24% from the previous year, driven by higher maintenance revenues of US$27.6m reflecting the early return of several aircraft on lease with Russia-based airlines and higher lease rentals of US$8.9m. Adjusted EBITDA for the fourth quarter was US$233.2m, up US$37.2m, or 19% from the fourth quarter of 2013, due primarily to higher total revenues, excluding amortization of net lease discounts and incentives, of US$38.3m. Adjusted net income for the quarter was US$80.1m, up US$25.2m or 46%, year over year. Total revenues for 2014 were US$818.6m, an increase of US$110.0m, up 16% from the previous year. The increase reflects higher lease rental and finance lease revenue of US$64.5m, higher maintenance revenue of US$19.7m and lower amortization of lease premiums, discounts and lease incentive amortization of US$26.2m. Adjusted EBITDA for the full year was US$792.3m, up US$75.1m or 10% versus 2013, reflecting higher total revenues excluding amortization of net lease discounts and lease incentives of US$83.7m, partially offset by lower gains from the sale of flight equipment of US$14.1m. Adjusted net income for the full year was US$167.6m compared to US$59.3m in 2013, an increase of US$108.4m.

Airbus A350 XWB makes début at Madrid-Barajas airport

February 19, 2015 · 336 Views

The A350 MSN2, one of Airbus’ five A350 XWB test aircraft, has landed at Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas airport on February 19th for the first time, to demonstrate its all new features to Iberia, the Madrid airport authorities and the media. Iberia has eight A350-900s on order.The A350 XWB is an efficient medium-capacity long-range wide-body aircraft. With a range of up to 8,000 nm/14,800 km. it is available in 2 basic passenger versions: the A350-900 seating 315 passenger and the A350-1000 for 369 in a typical two-class layout. The A350 XWB is the latest addition to the market-leading Airbus Widebody product line. Offering its customers a game-changing reduction in fuel-burn, the all-new mid-size long-range A350 XWB has carbon fibre fuselage and wings and sets new standards in terms of passenger comfort, operational efficiency and cost-effectiveness. At the end of January 2015, the A350 XWB had won 780 orders from 40 customers worldwide.

MBAAS completes sale of one Boeing 757-200 aircraft

February 19, 2015 · 312 Views

MBA Aircraft Solutions has successfully completed the sale of one Boeing 757-200 aircraft under management to a North American entity.

Bishwo Airways signs Letter of Intent for SSJ100 aircraft

February 19, 2015 · 365 Views

On February 19th, 2015 Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company and Bishwo Airways signed a Letter of Intent for the delivery of the Sukhoi Superjet 100 aircraft. It is expected that further consultations will result in a contract for five Sukhoi Superjet 100 (SSJ100) aircraft. The aircraft shall have a two-class layout for 93 passengers. In accordance with the tentative agreement the first SSJ100 will be delivered in 2017. Bishwo Airways is a private airline, registered in Nepal in the summer of 2014. Bishwo Airways is a subsidiary of Bishwo Holdings, a diversified Nepalese investment holding company based in Singapore.

Vienna to become first base for new Eurowings outside Germany

February 19, 2015 · 327 Views

The new Eurowings will have its first base outside Germany in Vienna. Following close consultation with Austrian Airlines and at the carrier’s own request, two Airbus A320 aircraft are to be stationed there initially, offering point-to-point connections on European routes. The aircraft are to fly in the colors of the new Eurowings. It is planned to staff the aircraft with crews from Austrian Airlines. This partnership is possible as a result of Austrian’s new collective agreement, which was entered into in December 2014 and offers additional prospects to the 900 pilots and 2,300 flight attendants. The agreement also means that employees are making an important contribution to the future viability and competitiveness of Austrian Airlines. With the new Eurowings brand, the Lufthansa Group is entering new markets in the price-sensitive leisure travel sector, thereby safeguarding its leading position in its home markets of Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Belgium. By the end of 2015, Eurowings and Germanwings along with other European airlines are to be united on a joint platform and should acquire new customers by offering low-cost short and long-haul services, in doing so providing quality at low prices.

India seen as potential production location for new Russian superjet

February 19, 2015 · 367 Views

It was back in August 2012 that Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), the manufacturer of the Sukhoi Superjet, announced its plans to build a new airliner intended to bridge the gap between the Superjet and the larger MS-21 airliner which was then in development. At the time, UAC had orders for 300 civil aircraft and 278 military aircraft. UAC also made it abundantly clear their intentions were to create a major international alliance of aircraft-makers including companies from a range of countries. “The foremost partner could be India, which would provide access to the growing Indian market,” UAC’s CEO, Mikhail Pogosyan, said. In addition, he stated that “We are considering an airliner with 130-140 seats as halfway between the Sukhoi Superjet with 110-115 seats and MS-21 with 150-200 seats”. Russia was already developing joint projects to construct military aircraft with India, these to include both the T-50 fighter and MTA transport aircraft program.

Today (Thursday) UAC’s new President, Yury Slyusar,  has made it clear that Russia was now considering assembling a Sukhoi Superjet regional jet in India to take full advantage of lower production costs. “We are looking at domestic production (in India) to help reduce the final price of the aircraft,” he confirmed, adding that this move would support Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Make in India” campaign. However there is no confirmation that an actual agreement has been reached.

Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL), the Indian state-owned company, operates the only complete aircraft production facility in India, though other companies including Reliance Group Tata Sons, and Mahindra & Mahindra have shown an interest in moving into the industry. National Aerospace Laboratories, the state-owned research agency, and HAL have, over recent years, worked independently to develop a Regional Transport Aircraft capable of carrying in the region of 100 passengers.

UAC officials also confirmed that they had started working with China on the initial design of a proposed 250 – 280 seat wide-body aircraft. Full-scale development of this is anticipated to commence in 2016 and scheduled to enter service in 2025 or thereabouts, and ideally targeting a market currently dominated by the Airbus A330 and A350, and Boeing’s 787.