Wednesday, May 02, 2012
AviTrader Daily Aviation News Alert
This is an overview of all articles linked within the selected daily newsletter.
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May 22, 2013
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.
June 26, 2013
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.
July 5, 2013
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.
January 9, 2014
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.
January 29, 2014
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.
February 26, 2014
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).
March 7, 2014
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.
March 25, 2014
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.
April 17, 2014
Snecma (Safran) and Mecachrome signed the procurement contract for titanium-aluminide (TiAl) blades on the low-pressure turbine of the CFM International LEAP engine. Titanium aluminide (TiAl), an alloy of titanium and aluminum, is a new-generation material with outstanding qualities. Standing up to very high temperatures (750°C), it will cut the weight of a blade in half compared with the nickel-based alloys traditionally used in low-pressure turbines. As part of the new LEAP engine, this alloy will be used for the first time on a single-aisle commercial jet. It will contribute to the excellent performance of this new engine, which offers 15% lower fuel consumption than the best engines now in service. Snecma and Mecachrome developed a special manufacturing process for TiAI blades, and even created a complete production facility. Located at Mecachrome’s plant in Sablé-sur-Sarthe, the new production line will require an investment of €60m and create 150 specific jobs. Volume production will kick off in 2015, with a sharp ramp-up already in 2016, on the way to achieving the planned production rate of one blade every three minutes in 2019.
April 30, 2012
The first Boeing 787 Dreamliner to be assembled in South Carolina rolled out of final assembly on April 27th. The airplane’s rollout marks the first time that a Boeing commercial airplane has been produced in the South-eastern United States. Boeing announced that it had selected North Charleston, S.C., as the location for the second 787 final assembly line on Oct. 28, 2009, and broke ground on the site in November of that year. The South Carolina final assembly facility was completed in June 2011, and production began later that same month. The airplane next goes to the flight line, where it will go through systems checks and engine runs in advance of taxi testing and first flight. The airplane remains on schedule for delivery to Air India in mid-2012.
April 30, 2012
ExecuJet announced that its Australasian operation has achieved the International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO) certification, as of 22 March, 2012. The initial accreditation audit was completed with zero findings. ExecuJet Australasia’s flight department joins the list of proactive flight departments around the world that have implemented IS-BAO to manage the safety, security and efficiency of their operations. ExecuJet is also IS-BAO certified in Africa, Europe and in the Middle East.
April 30, 2012
GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) announced delivery of a new leased Boeing 737-900ER aircraft to India’s Jet Airways to expand the airline’s fleet. The aircraft comes from GECAS’ existing order book with Boeing.
April 30, 2012
Alitalia and WheelTug announced the signing of a partnership to introduce an innovative electric drive system for taxiing the Airbus A320 family of aircraft. The patented WheelTug electric drive system consists of an electric motor – called “Chorus” – installed in the aircraft nose wheel and powered by the APU (Auxiliary Power Unit), the auxiliary engine installed in the tail of aircraft which provides energy to the onboard systems when the main engines are off. The equipment allows aircraft to taxi both forwards – without the use of main engines -and backwards – without the use of a tow tug. The Chorus electric motor allows the movement of the aircraft from the departure gate to the runway, and upon landing, from runway exit to the stand for passenger disembarkation. With this latest agreement Alitalia becomes the launch customer for this innovative technology, having reserved 100 WheelTug systems for its A320 aircraft.
April 30, 2012
Sokol JSC, a leading service provider known throughout the Russian Federation, has signed an agreement with GE Aviation to become an Authorized Service Center (ASC) for GE’s M601 and H80 turboprop engines. Under this agreement, Sokol JSC will provide local service support for the M601 series and the new GE H80 turboprop. Sokol JSC’s maintenance services will include all aspects of line maintenance as well as on-wing heavy repair, troubleshooting, TBO extension inspections, and Sokol will maintain a stock of spare parts.
April 30, 2012
Air Lease Corporation announced the following transactions covering 11 twin aisle aircraft and two single aisle aircraft including: the purchase of eight new Boeing 787-9 aircraft for lease to Vietnam Airlines with deliveries of the eight 787-9 “Dreamliner” aircraft scheduled for 2017 and 2018. This transaction marks ALC’s longest lead time for a lease placement to date. ALC also purchased from Macquarie Aviation one B777-300ER on long term lease to Emirates (a new customer for ALC), one incremental A330-200 on long term lease to KLM delivering in 2013, one A330-300 from the ALC pipeline on long term lease to Sichuan Airlines delivering in 2013 (Sichuan airlines also executed a four year extension on one A319 aircraft currently on lease from ALC) and one Embraer 190 from the ALC pipeline leased to LAM (Mozambique) delivering in 2012.
April 30, 2012
Bombardier Learjet reported the official ground breaking of the expansion of its Wichita Learjet site. The expansion, the largest in Bombardier Learjet’s history, includes the Bombardier Flight Test Center, the establishment of Bombardier Centers of Excellence for Engineering and Information Technology, new facilities for paint and production flight testing as well as a new delivery center and employee parking lots. By 2022, more than 1,000 jobs will have been created at Wichita’s Learjet site. Bombardier Aerospace continues to invest in both current production Learjet aircraft as well as innovative products such as the all new Learjet 85 midsize jet. Launched on October 30, 2007, the Learjet 85 aircraft is on schedule for entry into service in 2013.
April 30, 2012
Lockheed Martin completed delivery of the 79th and final C-5 Galaxy aircraft of the current Avionics Modernization Program, on April 27th. Aircraft 70-448 will be assigned to the Air Force Reserve 433rd Airlift Wing at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, Texas. The AMP program is the first part of a two-step modernization process. AMP began in 1998 and incorporates a mission computer, a glass cockpit with digital avionics, autopilot capabilities and state-of-the-art communications, navigation and surveillance components for air traffic management.
The second phase of the C-5 modernization effort is the Reliability Enhancement and Re-engining Program. Of the 79 C-5s that received the AMP modifications, 52 will be upgraded with newer, quieter CF-6 engines and more than 70 additional improvements as part of the transition to becoming a C-5M Super Galaxy.
May 1, 2012
Rolls-Royce has received a contract for $315m from Pratt & Whitney to supply the Rolls-Royce LiftSystem for 17 F-35B Lightning II aircraft. Rolls-Royce is the only company to produce the advanced technology that enables F-35B aircraft to perform Short Take Off and Vertical Landings (STOVL), and that provides increased mission flexibility. The LiftSystem comprises a Rolls-Royce LiftFan, Roll Posts and a 3-Bearing Swivel Module. Rolls-Royce is a subcontractor to Pratt & Whitney, which manufactures the F135 engine for the F-35 Lightning II programme. Under the contract, Rolls-Royce will produce 17 LiftSystems for the fourth lot of Low-Rate Initial Production (LRIP) through 2012, with a further order for the fifth lot expected later in the year. To date, Rolls-Royce has delivered 32 LiftSystems, plus spare parts.
May 1, 2012
The Marshall Group, owner of Cambridge Airport, UK, are preparing to embark on a £20m investment programme to open up the green field site to the south site of the runway, kick-starting the next phase of enhancements at the expanding East of England airport. Ground-breaking is scheduled for early July. The investment will focus on a new taxiway, which will provide a key access route to the south of the runway. Spend will also centre on a major rehabilitation of the runway which will enhance its performance and maintain the airport’s critical asset for a further 12 years. The project will also deliver significant environmental benefits through the implementation of an improved drainage system.
This next strategic phase follows a strong year for the airport which saw executive aviation movements increase, the introduction of regional airline services and the addition of leading aviation companies as tenants. After a competitive tender process, Cambridge Airport selected ExecuJet Europe to run its Fixed Based Operation (formerly Marshall Business Aviation) and the Swiss headquartered company moved in on 1 January this year. It subsequently announced it was moving its flight operations to the UK from Zurich and will have some 50 plus personnel based at Cambridge by year end. Other tenant companies taking up residency since EBACE 2011 include business aircraft sales distributors Action Aviation and the Pilot Training College, PTC.
May 1, 2012
US based, Gama Support Services, a Gama Group Company, announced its plans to expand its US based MRO business for corporate aircraft maintenance and support. Gama has been intensively building the infrastructure for this effort since 2009 with the creation of three separate FAA and EASA approved Part 145 Certified Repair Stations located in Bridgeport, CT (BDR), Teterboro, NJ (TEB), and West Palm Beach, FL (PBI). Each of the repair stations has expansive authorizations to perform base and line maintenance on most models of Gulfstream, Falcon, Bombardier, Cessna and Hawker aircraft, as well as all of the associated powerplants. Gama is focusing its growth initially at the West Palm Beach site, with the creation of a number of new technicians (engineering) jobs to service the increasing demand from aircraft operators in search of a ‘concierge’ level service.
May 1, 2012
Romanian aerospace company Aerostar S.A, reported that a new hangar it is building at its Bacau location, will double its commercial aviation MRO capacity. The hangar, which is now substantially complete, is having its utilities and equipment installed and will be ready for opening within the next few weeks. The new 5000 m² hangar can accommodate four bays for regional/narrow-body aircraft. Currently Aerostar’s MRO activities are carried out in a 4-bay hangar, so the addition of the new facility brings total capacity to eight aircraft in over 10,000 m² of space.
May 1, 2012
WestJet has selected Bombardier to supply aircraft for its new regional airline, expected to launch in the second half of 2013. The airline will fly the Bombardier Q400 NextGen to new cities, existing destinations not currently connected by WestJet, and will allow for schedule improvements on certain routes where a smaller aircraft can efficiently provide greater frequency. “We are very impressed with the Q400,” commented Gregg Saretsky, WestJet President and CEO. “Both ATR and Bombardier put forward excellent proposals and ultimately we believe the Bombardier Q400′s combination of range, speed and seat density is the best choice to meet the needs of the market and how we plan to operate the regional airline. We look forward to working with another great Canadian company.”
WestJet has signed a letter of intent to purchase 20 Q400s with the option to purchase a further 25 aircraft. The airline expects to announce its initial regional schedule using the Q400s later in 2012.
May 1, 2012
BAE Systems Regional Aircraft’s new spares delivery service – ‘Parts Plus’ – which was designed, initially, to appeal to new operators of the BAe 146/Avro RJ regional jet – is now being rolled out to more established operators of the aircraft. The first major airline customer to sign up for the service is Airlink of South Africa, while another relatively new operator of the type, Aerovias DAP of Chile, has also signed up for the programme. Under the scheme, BAE Systems Regional Aircraft will offer fixed pricing until the end of 2013, with an availability guarantee on a steadily increasing range of spare parts. This has now been increased to cover over 2500 parts (from the initial 1300) with delivery of the stock guaranteed within 10 calendar day for 2012, reducing to five calendar days for 2013. These guarantees are underpinned by financial incentives. More parts will be added twice a year so that by the end of the second year the aim is to cover a minimum of 4000 parts and the parts list will continue to grow thereafter. In return for this service level, the customer has to agree to buy any requirements for the specified parts from Regional Aircraft.
May 1, 2012
Building on its established track record of providing comprehensive rate-per-flying-hour programmes for its aircraft, BAE Systems Regional Aircraft announced an extension to the BAe 146/Avro RJ components covered with two new contracts secured with leading European airlines. BAE Systems has reached agreement with Swedish carrier Malmö Aviation to provide rate-per-flying-hour coverage for the Honeywell GTCP36-150M Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) that is fitted to its fleet of nine Avro RJ100s. Working with an established overhaul supplier, Regional Aircraft will provide Malmö with a guaranteed service level on the APUs for a fixed monthly cost over a three-year period. Building on this initial contract BAE Systems will seek to capture further APU rate-per-flying-hour business from other operators that use the Honeywell APU on their BAe 146/Avro RJ fleets.
In a separate development BAE Systems has also signed a contract with freight carrier TNT Airways S.A of Belgium for a rate-per-flying-hour agreement covering the flight deck windscreens on its fleet of 16 BAe 146QT (Quiet Trader) freighters.
May 1, 2012
VAS Aero Services, a global leader in aviation logistics and aftermarket services, and British Airways Engineering, a leading provider of Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul (MRO) services and part of the International Airlines Group (IAG), have announced a multi-million dollar, multi-year strategic aftermarket alliance. The two-way partnership spans inventory warehousing and distribution, repair services and aircraft tear-down. British Airways will now have immediate and direct access to available VAS-controlled parts and materials not currently in the British Airways inventory. In exchange, British Airways will provide its excess inventory of serviceable parts for VAS to market across its worldwide aftermarket distribution network. Furthermore, British Airways will become the preferred provider of MRO services to VAS, using the expertise in its workshops to overhaul components.
Under the terms of the agreement, VAS will move its European inventory into the British Airways London-Heathrow facility. By leveraging the British Airways world-class warehousing capability, VAS will enhance its global distribution and freight dispatch capability. VAS’s European sales and operations headquarters will also be relocated to the Heathrow facility.
May 1, 2012
WestJet reported record first quarter 2012 net earnings of $68.3m, up from net earnings of $48.2m reported in the first quarter of 2011. Total revenues increased 15.3% to $891.0m in the first quarter. WestJet’s operating cash flow per share was $1.87, an increase of 31% year over year. Based on the trailing twelve months, the airline achieved a return on invested capital of 10.8%, up from 10.1% reported last quarter.
May 1, 2012
US Airways reported that it priced two offerings of enhanced equipment trust certificates (the “Certificates”) in the aggregate face amount of approximately $623m. The Company intends to use the proceeds from the offerings to refinance two Airbus aircraft currently owned by US Airways, to finance the Company’s purchase of twelve Airbus aircraft scheduled to be delivered from September 2012 to March 2013 and to use the balance, if any, for general corporate purposes. The $623m financing is comprised of approximately $380m of Class A certificates with a final expected distribution date of October 1, 2024, approximately $125m of Class B certificates with a final expected distribution date of October 1, 2019, and approximately $118m of Class C certificates with a final expected distribution date of October 1, 2015. The offerings are expected to close on May 14, 2012, subject to customary closing conditions.
May 1, 2012
Astronics Corporation released that sales in the first quarter of 2012 were $65.1m, up $10.0 million, or 18.2%, from the prior year first quarter sales of $55.1 million. Aerospace sales, which represented approximately 95% of total first quarter sales, increased 23.5% over the prior year period to $62.0m. Test Systems sales decreased to $3.1m for the first quarter 2012 compared with last year’s first quarter of $4.9m. Net income in the first quarter of 2012 was $6.1m compared with net income of $5.2m in the same period of last year. Earnings per share for the first quarter of 2011 have been restated to reflect the impact of the one-for-ten Class B stock distribution to shareholders of record on August 16, 2011.
May 1, 2012
Amavco, Inc., a privately held U.S. Company, announced completion of the acquisition of Field Aviation Company Inc. from Hunting, PLC, effective April 27, 2012. Established in 1947 in Calgary, Alberta, Field Aviation is an international Aircraft Modification and Parts Manufacturing company with locations in Toronto, Ontario and Calgary, Alberta as well as Seattle, Washington and Cincinnati, Ohio in the United States. The company’s products and services are organized around various aviation specialties, including, aircraft modification, parts manufacturing, interior modifications and upgrades, avionics service and installation as well as aircraft sales and leasing. Field Aviation operates from two production facilities totaling 150,000 sft². Field Aviation also has two offices in the United States, its corporate headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio and its U.S. West sales office located in Seattle, Washington. Field Aviation employs over 260 highly skilled staff across its operations.