10.11.2008
FLUG REVUE

2008-11-10 - News in BriefNews in Brief

Kurzmeldungen<br /> +++<br /> In a new study, "The Market for Light Military Rotorcraft," Forecast International projects that 2,176 light rotorcraft will be produced for military use during the 10-year period from 2008 through 2107. The Connecticut-based firm estimates the value of this production at $22.3 billion, in constant 2008 U.S. dollars.

The new study generally defines a rotorcraft as "light" when it has a maximum gross weight of less than 6,804 kilograms (15,000 lb). The Forecast International projections indicate that annual light military rotorcraft production will more than double within the next several years.  Yearly production is projected to rise steadily from an estimated 132 rotorcraft in 2008 to 291 rotorcraft in 2014.  According to the study, this growth will make the light military segment the most dynamic part of the world rotorcraft market during this time period.  The overall rotorcraft market is experiencing considerable strength, and the light military segment is expected to lead the way. A number of factors are driving the growth in the light military rotorcraft market.  One is the ongoing restructuring of U.S. Army aviation, which involves a number of new procurement programs.  Two of these programs, the Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter (ARH) and the Light Utility Helicopter (LUH), will see the Army take delivery of hundreds of new light helicopters in coming years. Another key factor is the proliferation of new helicopter models that are just entering service or are about to do so.  Manufacturers will strive to quickly ramp up production of these models in order to work off accumulated order backlogs and get helicopters into the hands of their customers.  Many of these models are from companies outside the United States.
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The refurbishment and modernization of 18 G.222s, purchased by the United States Air Force and destined for the re-established Afghan Air Force, has begun at Alenia Aeronautica's Capodichino plant in Naples. On 30 September Alenia North America, as first company of Finmeccanica Group to have the role of prime contractor with the US Government, signed a $287 million contract to provided 18 refurbished and modernized G.222 aircraft. The aircraft were previously in service with the Italian Air Force and reacquired by Alenia Aeronautica in conjunction with the Italian Air Force's acquisition of a new fleet of C-27J Spartans.   The aircraft are to be modernized at Capodichino with state of the-art avionics and general improvements according to the specific requirements of the United States Air Force. Two of these aircraft will be outfitted for a VIP soundproof module and equipped with seats, desks and a pantry so as to be used for the transport of Afghan leaders.
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The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has purchased a WindTracer lidar system from Lockheed Martin, which is being tested at the Las Vegas McCarran International Airport. The system is designed to improve flight safety and airport operational efficiency by providing advanced warning of wind hazards and wind shifts. Developed and produced by Lockheed Martin Coherent Technologies, the WindTracer system continuously scans the approach and departure corridors, enabling air traffic control personnel to offer precise, timely direction to pilots during their most critical phase of flight. The lidar system uses pulses of infrared light and receives data when the light reflects off naturally-occurring dust particles in the air. It complements radar by excelling in dry and clear weather conditions.
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The first major flight hardware of the Ares I-X rocket has arrived in Florida to begin preparation for the inaugural test flight of the agency's next-generation launch system. The test flight is targeted for July 12, 2009. The Ares I-X upper stage simulator traveled to Port Canaveral aboard the Delta Mariner, a ship that also transports the Delta IV rocket for United Launch Alliance. The journey began Oct. 22 on the Ohio River as the barge traveled toward the Mississippi River for its voyage to Port Canaveral. By Nov. 6, the flight hardware will have been moved off the barge into high bay 4 of the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. The upper stage simulator consists of 11 individual components that were designed and manufactured during a two-year period at NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. The components represent the size, outer shape and weight of the second stage of the Ares I rocket, and will be integrated together in the Vehicle Assembly Building. The upper stage simulator eventually will be stacked atop the solid rocket booster segments of the Ares I-X rocket.
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Boeing and Air China Cargo announced that the carrier will add three 747-400 Boeing Converted Freighters (BCF) to its cargo fleet. The modification work on the three Combi airplanes will take place at Taikoo Aircraft Engineering (TAECO) in Xiamen, China. They previously were operated by Air China. "We look forward to our Boeing 747-400BCFs being of the same high quality as the factory-built freighters we operate," said Air China Cargo President Yao Jun. "Since Boeing is responsible for the modification, we know that these airplanes will receive the superior customer support that we have come to expect from Boeing." Air China Cargo currently operates eight freighters, including three 747-400 Freighters delivered new in 2005, 2006 and 2008, as well as two other 747-400 Freighters on lease and three 747-200 Freighters.
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Daher and EADS announced the conclusion of the agreement for Daher to acquire a 70% majority share in EADS Socata. "This Daher-Socata association will allow the creation of a leading European industrial player in the domain of aerostructures and open up new development prospects in general aviation, including for the new Socata aircraft project", declared Jean-Michel Léonard, CEO of EADS Socata. "Today we salute the success of this association, the result of more than a year's work between the management teams of the two companies to form a major player in Aerostructures, Business Aviation and Services", commented Louis Gallois, CEO of EADS, after the signing of the agreement was announced. "It is also a great satisfaction to have had the support of the majority of the social partners, the Works Councils of Socata and Daher, the Central Council of EADS France, and the personnel and management of Socata, who have clearly understood the strategic importance for the future of the company."
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As expected, the SAS Group's earnings for the third quarter were only marginally positive at an operating level amounting to an EBT of MSEK 101 before nonrecurring items. The reasons for the decrease in earnings in the third quarter are the same as earlier in the year: an economic trend that impacts total demand and alters the behavioral pattern of business travelers, and the continued high oil price during the period. Mats Jansson, President and CEO comments: "Naturally, our result for the quarter is not satisfactory, but nonetheless positive on an operative level. Against the backdrop of the ongoing financial crisis, weakened economic development and overcapacity in the air travel market, we have chosen to impair the SAS Group's goodwill and tax assets in relation to Spanair by MSEK 1,959.  This impairment will not affect SAS's liquidity. We are now experiencing a three-dimensional crisis. The financial crisis has come on top of the crisis in the industry and strengthens the negative economic trend. In addition to this, we have our own SAS-specific problems and challenges that we are now addressing by bringing forward the remaining S11 measures."
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Hawker Beechcraft reported lower sales and operating income during the three months ending Sept. 28, 2008, as compared to the same period in 2007 primarily resulting from a four-week strike in August by the International Association of Machinists (IAM). Net sales for the three months ending Sept. 28, 2008, were $783.3 million, a decrease of $87.7 million compared to the third quarter of 2007. Aircraft deliveries were significantly impacted by the strike. During the quarter, the Company delivered 86 business and general aviation aircraft consisting of 34 jet, 33 turboprop and 19 piston aircraft, as compared to the 106 aircraft during the same period in 2007. During the three months ending Sept. 28, 2008, the Company recorded operating income of $15.3 million, compared to an operating income of $62.1 million during the third quarter of 2007. The strike resulted in lower business and general aviation aircraft deliveries and reduced production in the Company's trainer segment, impacting overall operating income. Also included in the third quarter 2008 results was a $25.3 million charge associated with increased costs to conform specific early-production Hawker 4000 units to the final type design and to establish standard production processes. In response to the weakness in the global economy and overall economic outlook, HBC informed employees on Oct. 31, 2008, that reductions in workforce would be required as adjustments are made to aircraft production rates. The change in aircraft production reflects anticipation of reduced demand for new aircraft, spares and maintenance services. The financial impact resulting from the planned reductions is not anticipated to be significant.
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Honeywell announced today that it has received a $65 million production contract for its Micro Air Vehicle, known as the T-Hawk. The $65 million agreement is for 90 T-Hawk systems. Each system consists of two T-Hawk vehicles and one ground control unit, spares, training for operators and maintainers, and field support. Hardware deliveries of the 90 systems will begin in the second quarter of 2009 and conclude in December 2009. Each T-Hawk is small enough to carry in a backpack and is equipped with video cameras that relay information back to foot soldiers using a portable handheld terminal. The circular vehicle, weighing 17 pounds and 14 inches in diameter, can easily fly down to inspect hazardous areas for threats without exposing warfighters to enemy fire. Honeywell's T-Hawk also has the unique ability to take off and land vertically from complex desert and urban terrains without using runways or helipads.
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As part of a product improvement programme, EADS Defence & Security (DS) will equip the German Armed Forces' CH-53G transport helicopters with the new operations support system EUA (Einsatzunterstützungsanlage) for mission preparation and planning. The system with an order volume of around € 10 million will be developed by Defence Electronics, an integrated activity of EADS DS, which is already developing self-defence and avionics systems for the CH-53 helicopter as a subcontractor of Eurocopter Deutschland. The EUA operations support systems combine operational command and control with technical logistic support for a weapon system. With the present contract, DS meanwhile supports three types of helicopters of the German Armed Forces: the Tiger combat helicopter, the NH90 transport helicopter and now also the CH-53 GA. The scalable IT system of the EUA provides commanding officers, pilots and technical staff with safe and reliable support. Moreover, the system allows data from various sources to be supplied to the CH-53 GA helicopter thereby increasing the accuracy of flight preparation. The EUA also enhances the operational efficiency and improves the deployment capabilities of helicopter squadrons, above all in operations abroad, while at the same time lowering running costs.
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Rolls-Royce announced orders worth more than $400 million from customers in China. BOC Aviation, the leading Asia-based aircraft leasing company, has selected market-leading Trent 700 engines worth $180 million for five Airbus A330 freighters. Rolls-Royce also has a $230 million share of an order for V2500 engines from Sichuan Airlines.
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Textron announced that due to continued softening in the global economic environment, it is revising its 2009 Citation jet production schedule. The company had previously targeted about 535 Citations for delivery in 2009, up from about 475 planned for 2008. While detailed planning is still underway, at this time, the company expects deliveries will be up slightly over 2008 next year, reflecting continued ramp-up of the new Mustang program. On this basis, the company estimates that 2009 Cessna revenues will be similar to this year's record revenue expectation of about $5.9 billion.
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General Dynamics completed its acquisition of Zurich, Switzerland-based Jet Aviation for CHF 2.45 billion (approximately $2.18 billion) from Dreamliner Lux S.a.r.l., a company controlled by the Permira Funds. The companies announced the plans for the acquisition in August. Jet Aviation was founded in Switzerland in 1967 and is one of the world's leading business-aviation services companies. Approximately 5,600 Jet Aviation employees cater to clients' needs from 25 airport facilities throughout Europe, the Middle East, Asia and North and South America. Services provided include maintenance, repair and overhaul; completions and refurbishments; engineering; fixed base operations (FBO); aircraft management, flight support and global executive-jet charter services; and aircraft sales, acquisitions and personnel services. In the past three years, under the control of the Permira Funds, Jet Aviation has developed from a family owned business to a global leader in business aviation services. Jet Aviation will continue serving the entire aircraft manufacturing community and its global client base as a new business unit within the General Dynamics Aerospace group operating under the Jet Aviation and Midcoast Aviation brands. Current management will remain in place.
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In the first three quarters of fiscal year 2008 all key traffic and financial indicators of the Fraport Group continued to improve.  Frankfurt Airport (FRA) welcomed 0.1 percent more passengers, while Group-wide Fraport recorded 1.9 percent  passenger growth.  Airfreight tonnage rose by 1.2 percent at FRA and climbed by 2.9 percent for the Fraport Group's airports combined.   With €1.6 billion, sales revenue fell 8.8 percent short of the previous year's level.  However, adjusted for the extraordinary effects in the first nine months of 2007, Group revenue jumped by 4.4 percent.  Unadjusted, EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) increased by 0.4 percent to €492.5 million; the adjusted EBITDA grew by 1.8 percent.  Group profit advanced by 0.6 percent year-on-year  to €220 million. Fraport AG's executive board chairman Dr. Wilhelm Bender said that after the satisfying rates of increase in the first half of 2008, "the economic development with its downward business trend" as well as the global financial crisis have affected  world air traffic and thus Fraport's operating business. At Frankfurt Airport, Fraport recorded 41.1 million passengers from January through September 2008, up 0.1 percent year-on-year.  Airfreight throughput increased by 1.2 percent to 1.56 million metric tons, and aircraft movements dropped by 0.7 percent to approximately 368,000 takeoffs and landings.  At Fraport's majority-owned airports, the number of passengers climbed by 1.9 percent to 61 million, while cargo  (airfreight and airmail) rose by 2.9 percent to 1.9 million metric tons.
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Rizon, the Bahrain-based executive jet company is bringing its unique product offering to Europe. It has selected London Biggin Hill Airport, UK as its operating base and parent company Rizon Group Holdings has secured an 80 year lease on land at the airport where it is in the process of constructing a new $20 million dollar, 13,000 sq m hangar and ramp area. The build is advancing according to schedule according to Rizon Group Holdings CEO, William (Will) Curtis. The hangar will house an MRO facility, for which Rizon has already begun an application to obtain EASA 145 approval, and also an AOC charter operation (both fixed and rotary wing) along with a Fixed Base Operation (FBO) geared to meet the high expectations of its discerning Gulf-based clients. Rizon has been encouraged by early demand for its services in London and has already signed its first hangarage and maintenance contract for a UK based client expecting delivery of a Bombardier Challenger 605 late in 2009. Rizon recently reached a separate agreement with London Biggin Hill Airport management to invest in, subject to gaining planning permission, a $15 million, 75 room hotel directly adjacent to the site of its FBO facility.
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Following a fifth orbit-raising manoeuvre, the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft successfully settled into a trajectory that will take it to the Moon. After launch on 22 October, the spacecraft was first injected into an elliptical 7-hr orbit around Earth, between 255 km and 22 860 km above our planet. After five engine firings, Chandrayaan-1 spiralled outwards in increasingly elongated ellipses around Earth, until it reached its lunar transfer orbit on 4 November at 00:26 CET (04:56 Indian standard time). In the fifth and last orbit-raising manoeuvre, the spacecraft's 440 Newton liquid-fuel propelled engine was fired for about two and a half minutes. The lunar transfer orbit's farthest point from Earth is about 380 000 km.
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Lockheed Martin recently conducted a series of test flights demonstrating a new cutting-edge, low-light-level sensor system for U.S. Army Arrowhead-equipped AH-64D Apache helicopters. Integrated into the Modernized-Pilot Night Vision Sensor (M-PNVS) system, the Visible/Near Infrared (V/NIR) sensor will provide the Warfighter with significant tactical advantages. Pilots will now be able to see cultural and military lighting, providing safer flying conditions and enhanced mission capability by blending V/NIR sensor imagery with M-PNVS forward looking infrared (FLIR) imagery to improve situational awareness in low light-level conditions. The sensor will also allow aviators to see laser pointers, improving coordination with ground units. Follow-on qualification and flight tests are scheduled for later this year to complete the development program.  The $9.4 million contract for the V/NIR proof-of-principle phase for the M-TADS/PNVS was awarded in 2007 to Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control by the Apache Program Executive Office in Huntsville, AL. Lockheed Martin will produce the V/NIR lens and serve as the system integrator, while Lockheed Martin Maritime Systems & Sensors in Akron, OH, will provide the system's camera.
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On November 5, a Proton Breeze M launch vehicle successfully lifted the ASTRA 1M satellite into orbit, marking the fifth mission of the year for International Launch Services (ILS). The Proton vehicle lifted off from Pad 39 at the cosmodrome at 2:44 a.m. today local time (3:44 p.m. EST Wednesday, 20:44 GMT Wednesday). After a 9-hour-12-minute mission, the launcher released the satellite into a geosynchronous transfer orbit. The satellite will eventually go into operation at 19.2 degrees East longitude for SES ASTRA of Luxembourg. The ASTRA 1M mission is the third launch for ILS since mid-August. Although the satellites were for different customers, all three were built on the Eurostar 3000 bus by EADS Astrium of France. In addition to the ILS launches, there was one Russian federal mission on Proton during that time frame as well.
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Embraer received certification, last October 27, from the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB) to operate the EMBRAER 170 jets in Japan. The launch customer of this aircraft model in the country will be Japan Airlines (JAL), whose EMBRAER 170 was delivered in October. Embraer President & CEO Frederico Fleury Curado received the type certification from JCAB General Director Mr. Ryuhei Maeda.
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Oboronprom Corporation and AgustaWestland announced they have signed an agreement for the establishment of a 50-50 joint venture Company in Russia to set up and run a civil AW139 helicopter Final Assembly Line, for which the approval of the Russian Government is being sought, as required under the Strategic Enterprises Law. The registered office of the JV Company and the Final Assembly Line will be located in the Moscow region of Russia and the AW139s assembled there will be used to satisfy the requirements of the civil markets in Russia and CIS countries primarily and - through the AgustaWestland network – for the rest of the world. Furthermore, UTAir of Russia has signed a Letter Of Intent for the purchase of 35 to 49 AW139 helicopters over a 5-7 year period that will be delivered from the joint venture company's Final Assembly Line starting from 2011. UTAir is a major world helicopter operator satisfying the needs of the oil and gas industry. However, a range of other services are provided by the company including transport, operations in the forest sector and forest patrolling, search and rescue, emergency medical evacuation and aerial works.
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Over the period from January to October 2008, Air Berlin transported a total of 24,810,294 passengers, i.e. 2.1 percent more than in the corresponding period of the previous year (2007: 24,308,820 passengers). Fleet capacity utilization for the first ten months of the year rose from 78.1 to 79.3 percent, i.e. an increase of 1.2 percentage points.
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CFM International's advanced CFM56-7B27A/3 engine model has been jointly certified by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and the European Aviation Safety Agency for the U.S. Navy's P-8A Poseidon, paving the way for flight tests in 2009 and initial operational capability in 2013. The Navy plans to purchase 108 P-8As to replace its fleet of P-3C aircraft. CFM International (CFM) is a 50/50 joint company between Snecma (SAFRAN Group) and General Electric Company. CFM is part of the Boeing-led P-8A team that also includes Spirit AeroSystems, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, NAVAIR and GE Aviation.
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In a culmination of milestones over the past year and a half, the EA-18G Growler has moved to Operational Evaluation (OpEval). The Growler, replacing the EA-6B Prowler, has conducted its sea trials, tested missiles and surpassed more than 1,000 flight hours in the past several months. The Growler's sea trials occurred July 31 through Aug. 5 on the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. The combined efforts of the Research, Development, Test and Evaluation Squadron 23 (VX-23) carrier suitability team, the F/A-18 and EA-18G program office, industry partners and crew members of the USS Eisenhower, resulted in 319 approaches, 62 catapult shots and 62 arrested landings. Originally, the squadron planned to use one EA-18G for 10 days to conduct the sea trials, which would have allowed for greater flexibility in weather and deck conditions. However, due to operational requirements of the Eisenhower, the squadron was required to qualify the Growler for the carrier in just five days, half of the initial allotted time. To achieve this, the squadron used one Growler and one F/A-18, configured as a Growler.
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With reference to statements attributed to its Executive Vice-President, Finance and CFO, Antonio Luiz Pizarro Manso, during the conference telephone call for presenting the results of the third quarter of 2008, held on November 4, Embraer publicly clarifies that, at the present time, it is not seeking to associate with any other aircraft manufacturer in the world, neither does it have a project for developing large airplanes. Market trends for commercial jets have been constantly monitored by Embraer, which always seeks placement opportunities for its current product line. Furthermore, the Company has an engineering department devoted to preliminary studies of new programs and pre-competitive technological development. According to the Company's strategic vision, as established and approved by the Board of Administration, initiatives for associating with other companies or for launching products could be considered, based on a thorough study of possible scenarios, and they would be promptly announced to the market.
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Signing of a Status of Forces Agreement between New Zealand and Germany marks a significant step in the future relationship between the both nations' defence forces. The agreement, signed by the Minister of Defence, Hon Phil Goff and German Ambassador to New Zealand, His Excellency Mr Jörg Zimmermann, sets out the conditions for the temporary stay of New Zealand Defence Force personnel in Germany for the purposes of all training, exercises and exchanges. Chief of Air Force, Air Vice-Marshal Graham Lintott says the agreement is of particular significance for the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) as it will cover the pilot exchange with Germany set to begin in early 2009. "RNZAF pilots who will be operating the new NH90 helicopters will be among the first to benefit from this agreement. "The arrival of the NH90 helicopter into the service will be an exciting milestone for the Air Force and working alongside other NH90 operators, such and Germany, will be of invaluable assistance in terms of training opportunities."
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Thales, European leader in electronic combat systems, announced that its Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) RBE2 radar has reached a significant new milestone with the end of its hardware development phase. This announcement signals the beginning of the first AESA product delivery phase and the validation of the new software functions, which will further enhance the radar's capacities. This milestone is the last in a long line of key events that Thales has seen with the development of its state-of-the-art radar – AESA flight tests first began in 2003; the radar's concepts were validated in 2005; the industrialisation phase was launched in 2006; and this final phase sees the end of the development period and the beginning of production of the hardware model. Final validation of software functions is expected to end in the 1st quarter of 2010 with the delivery of AESA radars to Dassault. Earlier this year, the company saw the successful completion of a series of flight tests on the Rafale itself, giving further positive results of the radar's performance in an operational configuration.
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Following the sale of the Swedish space company Saab Space and its Austrian subsidiary Austrian Aerospace by SAAB AB to Swiss technology group RUAG, the companies are now united under one name: RUAG Aerospace. The former "Saab Space AB" of Sweden and "Austrian Aerospace GmbH" of Austria are thus now known as "RUAG Aerospace Sweden AB" and "RUAG Aerospace Austria GmbH" respectively. These companies are being combined with the Swiss space technology activities of RUAG to form one strengthened, Space business unit at RUAG Aerospace. This will enable RUAG to position itself as a pan-European supplier in the space technology segment and to offer its clients even more performance from a single source in the future. RUAG Aerospace in Switzerland is a successful niche supplier in the space business. Its product portfolio includes mechanical components, instruments and aerostructures for satellites and commercial launch vehicles, and for use at the International Space Station (ISS). Orders here originate from the European Space Agency (ESA) and various commercial clients.
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Lufthansa Technik and Norwegian Air Shuttle have signed an agreement for overhaul services on more than 100 engines. According to the new contract, Lufthansa Technik will take care of the CFM56-7B engines for all 53 aircraft of Norwegian´s 737NG fleet and further seven spare engines. The fifteen year contract is Lufthansa Technik's largest engine service assignment in Scandinavia to date and the first major order for the new engine overhaul center currently under construction in Hamburg. With the new facility, Lufthansa Technik can shorten the engine processing times and expands its engine overhaul capacity from 320 to more than 400 engines per year.
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British Airways presented its interim management report for the six months ended September 30, 2008. Period highlights were operating profit of £140 million (2007: £567 million - restated); full year fuel costs still expected to be about £3 billion British Airways' chief executive Willie Walsh, said: "This is a good performance given the incredibly difficult trading conditions. The six month period will be remembered as one of the bleakest on record. The period was hit by a crisis in the banking sector, record fuel prices and several airlines going out of business. Against this very tough economic backdrop we have delivered profits of £140 million resulting from a 6.4 per cent revenue increase. Costs are up £711 million and remain a key challenge. Fuel costs for the period were up £511 million at £1,494 million. Our annual fuel bill is still expected to be up some 50 per cent at about £3 billion. Employee costs, including a £40 million severance provision, were up 8.6 per cent. We have made good progress with our plans to offset the difficult conditions. We have reviewed the summer 2009 schedule and plan to reduce capacity by some 1 per cent compared with summer 2008. We have revised capital expenditure plans and remain focused on cost control and our strong cash position."
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Fleet Readiness Center Southeast (FRCSE) completed repairs on the first Red-striped P-3C and delivered the aircraft to its squadron in Brunswick, Maine. The term "Red-stripe" comes from the diagonal red stripe on the Airworthiness Bulletin that grounded 39 P-3C aircraft in December 2007 for structural fatigue concerns on a portion of the lower outer wing, called Zone 5. These 39 aircraft comprise approximately one quarter of the P-3C fleet, many of which have been flying for more than 25 years. The P-3 groundings were not the result of an aircraft incident, rather the result of ongoing analysis obtained through the structural engineering focused P-3C Fatigue Life Management Program (FLMP). This program monitors the fatigue status, flight hour usage, and operational profiles on aircraft. In materials science, fatigue is the progressive and localized structural damage that occurs when a material is repeatedly stressed. FRCSE is leading the way in repairing these aircraft and returning them to the Fleet. The Zone 5 repair consists of replacing five of the nine lower wing planks and the aft lower wing spar. Commodore Kyle Cozad, Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing Eleven (CPRW-11) recently addressed the artisans who repair the P-3 at FRCSE. He thanked them for their support of the Warfighter, and reinforced the importance of their contributions. "The repair of these aircraft means that we return aircraft to our flight line which provides combat readiness and trained crews to the combatant commanders in theater. That mission begins here at FRCSE, so we want to say thanks for all you do. When the Zone 5 repairs are completed at FRCSE, it provides an additional 5,000 flight hours for the aircraft, extending the service life by eight to 10 years."
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Boeing and Uzbekistan Airways have finalized an order for four 767-300ER (Extended Range) airplanes. The order is valued at $597 million at list prices. Including today's announcement, Uzbekistan Airways has now ordered six Boeing jetliners (two previously ordered 787-8s and the four 767-300ERs). "We are eager to strengthen our Boeing fleet with 767s to continue competing successfully and meet continued demand for air travel in our region," said Valeri Tyan, general director of Uzbekistan Airways. "Today's order is yet another step forward in our strong relationship with Boeing. We look forward to operating the 787 and benefiting from its advanced performance features. Until then, the 767-300ER is the economical and logical choice to fulfill our interim capacity targets and our growth plans."
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Ryanair announced half year profits of €215m, 47% down on last years interim profits as half year fuel costs more than doubled from €392.7m to €788.5m. Traffic grew by 19% to 32m, as average fares (incl. bag charges) fell by 4% to €47, while total revenues grew by 16% to €1.8bn. Unit costs excluding fuel fell by 6%, (incl. fuel they rose 21%), despite a 2% increase in average sector length. Ryanair's CEO Michael O'Leary said: "Achieving a half year net profit of €215m in very difficult trading conditions with record oil prices is a testimony to the strength of the Ryanair lowest fare model, which delivered 19% traffic growth, and a 4% yield decline (due to the absence of Easter and falling baggage penetration rates). Ancillary revenues which grew by 28% to €322m account for almost 18% of revenues versus 16% last year. Unit costs including fuel rose by 21%. Fuel accounted for more than 50% of our total operating costs as the cost per barrel doubled from $63 to $125. Spot fuel prices have fallen recently to $60 pbl as the worldwide recession has led to a collapse in consumer confidence and consumption. Our fuel hedging position remains unchanged for fiscal 2008/09. We are 80% hedged for Q3 at $124 pbl and totally unhedged in Q4. In recent months a significant disconnect has emerged between spot and forward oil prices resulting in fiscal Q1 and Q2 pricing at a premium of $17 pbl over spot rates. In addition the hedging markets are illiquid which partly explains these high premiums. We have taken advantage of these recent falls in oil prices to hedge 25% of Q1 and Q2 fiscal 2009/10 supply at an average of $77 pbl. This will lock in a substantial saving over the $125 pbl paid in the half year to September 2008. We continue to closely monitor fuel prices and look for opportunities to extend our hedges at these much lower oil prices.
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Ryanair celebrated the opening of its 26 base, at Reus Airport, and the launch of new domestic routes which will link Reus with Santander, Seville, Santiago de Compostela and Palma dallorca (starting the 19th December) and a new international route to Paris (Beauvais). Four of the new Reus routes will operate as daily services while the new Seville service will operate twice daily. Ryanair's five new routes will carry an additional 600,000 passengers through Reus Airport each year.
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