FAA approval of routes and aircraft suspended because of U.S. government shut down

With President Trump’s refusal to back down over funding for his US$5.7bn U.S.-Mexico border wall resulting in a partial government shutdown, airplane manufacturers and commercial airlines are beginning to suffer from the knock-on effect of the enforced furlough being taken by FAA groups responsible for the oversight of aircraft approval and new routes. Southwest Airlines has confirmed its plans to launch its service to Hawaii are now on hold until such time as it receives the necessary authorization. According to a Gulfstream Aerospace spokesperson, certification of its new G600 corporate jet has been adversely affected along with other “facets of Read more

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15 killed as Boeing 707 military cargo plane crashes in Iran

According to the semi-official Fars news agency, an Iranian Boeing 707 military plane carrying meat has crashed at Fath Airport, Iran after attempting to make an emergency landing. 15 out of the 16 crew on board were killed, while the only survivor, the flight engineer, has been hospitalized. Fath Airport belongs to Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards Corps and is located near Karaj in the central Iranian province of Alborz. The aircraft’s black box voice recorder (CVR) has been recovered. According to a statement issued by the Iranian army: “A Boeing cargo 707 place carrying meat from Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan had Read more

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Germany’s Frankfurt Airport braces itself for strike action

Frankfurt Airport, Germany’s largest, is set to become the next victim of a round of strikes organised by ver.di, the country’s second-largest union after IG Metall, which has over two million members and which represents 23,000 airport security workers. The union has organised a swathe of strikes that have hit airports across Germany, including Düsseldorf, Cologne-Bonn and Stuttgart. The action is being taken in support of a current wage demand being made for all workers conducting security checks at airports across the country for a minimum basic hourly rate of €20.00 (US23.10). According to BDLS, who is acting on behalf Read more

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London’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports invest millions in anti-drone equipment

After the chaos caused by drone sightings at London Gatwick Airport between December 19 and December 21 last year, both London Heathrow and London Gatwick Airport have invested heavily in military-grade anti-drone equipment to ensure that further levels of disruption from the presence or suspected presence of drones can be avoided. There were sightings of drones over the three days at London Gatwick, the chief constable of Sussex police, Giles York, confirming that officers had received 115 reports of sightings in the area, including 93 that had been confirmed as coming from “credible people” including a pilot and airport staff. Read more

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Lagos-based Green Africa Airways signs commitment for up to 100 737 MAX 8 aircraft

Green Africa Airways signs commitment for up to 100 737 MAX aircraft ©Boeing

Boeing and Lagos-based Green Africa Airways have announced a commitment for up to 100 737 MAX 8 aircraft, evenly split into 50 firm aircraft and 50 options, as the airline gears up to begin commercial operations. The total deal carries a list-price of US$11.7 billion, the largest aircraft agreement from Africa, and will be reflected on Boeing’s Orders and Deliveries website once finalized. Green Africa Airways, a value airline based in Lagos, Nigeria aims to offer safe, quality and affordable air travel and be a significant contributor to the economic development of Nigeria and the African continent. The new airline Read more

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London Gatwick Airport paralyzed by drones in “deliberate act” of disruption

©Gatwick Airport

London Gatwick Airport has had all flight operations to and from the airport put on hold since 21:00GMT Wednesday, December 20, after what has been described as a “deliberate act” of disruption. In all, up to 100,000 passengers are likely to be affected. The disruption began after two drones were spotted flying inside the airport’s perimeter fence and “into where the runway operates from.” There was a 45 minute respite at 3.01GMT, but “a further sighting of drones” saw the airport shut down again. The shutdown remains in operation subsequent to the sighting of a drone at approximately 07:00GMT and Read more

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First serial H160 takes to the skies

The first serial H160 with its unique livery ©Airbus Helicopters

The first serial H160 to roll off the brand new assembly line in Marignane performed a flight demonstration on the December 17, in front of the H160 team in an end-of-the-year celebration of the programme’s achievements in 2018. The helicopter, which will be delivered to launch customer Babcock in 2020, had already performed its first flight on the December 14. The aircraft’s unique livery is a testimony to the several hundred people working towards the platform’s certification at the end of next year, the programme’s industrial maturity, and its seamless entry into service as they have all signed the helicopter. Read more

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TAT Group enters into exclusive negotiations with Sagard, BPI France and Towerbrook funds for acquisition of Sabena technics’ capital

TAT Group has entered into exclusive negotiations with the investment companies Sagard, Bpifrance and TowerBrook in order to sell them its majority interest in its subsidiary Sabena technics, one of the European leaders in the field of aircraft maintenance and modification. This project was presented on December 17, 2018 to all Sabena technics Group’ s works councils. The sale should be finalized during the second quarter of 2019, subject to the completion of this procedure and the approval of the supervisory authorities. This shareholder evolution will be an important step for Sabena technics’ development by reinforcing its growth opportunities while Read more

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U.S. – China trade war doesn’t deter Boeing from opening first 737 plant in China

Despite a 90-day relaxation in which it is hoped the U.S. and China will be able to negotiate a mutually agreeable trade deal, Bowing has opened its first 737 completion plant in Zhoushan, the result of a joint venture between the American plane giant and the state-owned Commercial Aircraft Corp of China (COMAC). The opening ceremony also included the delivery of the first 737 completed at the facility to state carrier Air China. Boeing invested US$33 million in 2017 in the acquisition of a majority stake in the joint venture, a facility which installs interiors and paint liveries. It is Read more

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Virgin Galactic’s manned SpaceShipTwo rockets into space and back

Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Galactic's first two astronauts ©Virgin Galactic/Quasar Media 2018

After taking off from the Mojave Desert in California, the Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo successfully reached an altitude of 82.7km, well beyond the altitude that space, or the thermosphere, begins at 80km, but below the recognised 100km altitude, the Karman Line, where the Earth’s atmosphere ends and outer space begins. It is understood that the rocket plane climbed to an altitude of approximately 10,000 meters (32,000 feet) under jet propulsion, after which the rocket was ignited, powering the aircraft for 60 seconds, enabling it to fly at 2.9 times the speed of sound. Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic was formed in Read more

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