13.01.2008
FLUG REVUE

2008-01-13 - News in BriefNEWS IN BRIEF

KURZMELDUNGEN<br /> +++<br /> The Air Berlin Group continued on its path to growth in 2007. In total, Air Berlin (including LTU since 1/2007 and Belair since 11/2007) transported 27,862,507 passengers, i.e. 10.6 percent more than in the previous year (2006: 25,191,622), thereby marking a new record in its corporate history.

Capacity utilization over the January to December 2007 period improved to 77.2 percent, i.e. an increase of 1.62 percentage points over the previous year. In December 2007, Air Berlin (including its subsidiaries LTU and Belair) welcomed 1,903,951 passengers on board, i.e. a 16.6 percent increase (12/2006, including LTU and Belair: 1,632,372 passengers). The fleet capacity utilization rate improved to 71.7 percent, i.e. an increase of 3.2 percentage points over the corresponding month of the previous year (12/2006: 68.5 percent). For December 2007, flight revenue per available seat kilometer (ASK) amounted to 4.55 Eurocents, an increase of 2.2 percent over the same period of the previous year (12/2006: 4.45 Eurocents).
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The airberlin group has revised it brand identity and launched a new advertising campaign. The repositioning of the airberlin group as a global business is associated with the group's acquisitions and this is to be reflected in the airline's image. With immediate effect the logo will be a combined mark, consisting of a figurative and a word element, and will be used internationally. The company name will be in lower case and written as one word. The colour HKS15 remains the same, but the font is now "Chalet airberlin". The new claim is: "airberlin. Genau deine Airline." (airberlin. Your kind of airline.)
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MD Helicopters has announced the delivery of a new MD Explorer to the Greater Manchester Police (GMP) just days before Christmas.  The delivery marks a return to grace for MD Helicopters in the eyes of the police force and the first new delivery to law enforcement in Europe since ownership by investment funds managed by Patriarch Partners, LLC (Patriarch) in July, 2005. GMP purchased its first MD aircraft in June, 2001. The Greater Manchester Police christened their first MD902 Explorer, call sign 'India 99'.  Since its delivery, the aircraft has flown over 7000 hours in continuous service. The combination of flexibility, reliability and easy maintenance made the MD Explorer the first choice for a new aircraft by the UK police. Watching over Greater Manchester and supporting officers on the ground, India 99 has used high- tech equipment including TV and thermal image cameras, a microwave downlink that can broadcast live pictures to ground patrols, a high powered searchlight and loud speaker system and a tracking facility for locating stolen vehicles. The aircraft's interior is mission flexible and accommodates up to eight persons or can be reconfigured  to carry stretchers for ambulance work. 
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Boeing has submitted its revised HH-47 Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) helicopter proposal to the U.S. Air Force in response to Amendment Five of the service's original request for proposals. "Our focus has remained on providing the Air Force a low-risk, date-certain, best value offering that meets or exceeds all customer performance requirements," said Jim Albaugh, president and CEO of Boeing Integrated Defense Systems. "With its superior range, payload and speed, we are confident the HH-47 will provide the customer with an aircraft that can best perform the mission of reliably bringing downed flight crews safely home." Originally awarded to Boeing in November 2006, the $10 billion CSAR-X contract has undergone two rounds of competitor protests sustained by the Government Accountability Office. Amendment Five reopened the competition and allowed the competitors to adjust all aspects of their proposals to provide the Air Force 141 new helicopters.
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Pratt & Whitney and Turkish Airlines Technic Inc. (Turkish Technic), a Turkish Airlines company , signed a joint venture agreement to build an aircraft engine overhaul center in Istanbul today. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. The joint venture facility, to be named Pratt & Whitney Turkish Technic Aircraft Engine Maintenance Center LLP, will overhaul V2500 and CFM56(R) engines. Construction will begin in early 2008 and the first engine is expected to be inducted in 2009. Once fully operational, the center is expected to overhaul up to 200 engines per year and will employ many of Turkish Technic's experienced staff. The new facility will be Pratt & Whitney's eighth commercial engine overhaul center.
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Astrium has been selected by Eutelsat Communications, one of the world's leading satellite operators, to deliver a satellite, currently designated as KA-SAT, the first European multi-beam satellite to operate exclusively in the Ka-band and dedicated to providing broadband and broadcast services across the wider Europe. KA-SAT will be launched in 2010 and positioned at 13 degrees East in geostationary orbit. The new satellite marks a material step forward in multi-beam satellites that are already demonstrating their efficiency in the market for broadband Internet access, HDTV and local and regional television for users located in rural areas in North America. Based on the Eurostar E3000 platform developed by Astrium, KA-SAT will operate more than 80 spot beams simultaneously, which makes it the largest multi-beam Ka-band satellite ever ordered worldwide. The satellite will feature a high level of frequency re-use and a flexible assignment of resources to adjust to market demand. Weighing 5.8 tonnes at launch, the large spacecraft is equipped with four multi-feed deployable antennas with enhanced pointing accuracy, and will be able to operate at a payload power of more than 11 kW throughout its 15-year design lifetime.
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Eurocopter España bade farewell to 2007 with the sale of eleven new helicopters earmarked for various bodies within the Spanish Interior and Defence Ministries. As a result of these contracts, the Directorate General for Traffic (DGT) will be equipped with four AS355NP twin-engine multi-mission helicopters and two EC135 twin-engine multipurpose helicopters capable of instrument flights, which have become a world reference for police missions, with more than 600 units sold worldwide since they were first launched on the market in mid 1996. This agreement is worth approximately 20 million euros. The sale of two Cougar (AS532AL) helicopters was concluded with the Ministry of Defence for the FAMET (Army Airmobile Force), while three Cougar were bought for the Military Emergency Unit (UME), contracts worth 40 and 76 million euros, respectively. The UME helicopters are specially equipped for emergency missions like fire fighting and search and rescue. The sale to the UME includes mission and logistic support outfitting systems for commissioning the helicopters. The Cougar is a twin-engine multipurpose helicopter with a capacity for transporting up to 25 soldiers in full gear, in addition to two crew members, or 10 soldiers and 6 wounded. It has a cargo capacity of up to 4.5 tons. Its operating capabilities make it the ideal helicopter for operations in adverse conditions and in a wide range of missions: troop and cargo transport, search and rescue, evacuation, etc.
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The 452nd Flight Test Squadron at Edwards AFB is scheduled to begin a series of developmental flight tests on the RQ-4 Global Hawk Block 30 in February. The aircraft arrived in Edwards on a ferry flight Nov. 16 from the Northrop Grumman Palmdale, CA facility. The unmanned Block 30 aircraft carries the Airborne Signals Intelligence Payload (ASIP) that will increase battlefield signal collection capabilities. "Our developmental testing will determine how well the ASIP will collect data and locate radio frequency emitters in the battlefield," said Steve Salas, 452nd Flight Test Squadron ASIP Project Manager. The ASIP is a system of systems that specializes in identifying various emitters, he said. "The payload's capabilities are extremely important for situational awareness and intelligence gathering across huge areas of land," Mr. Salas said. Testing during 2008 will include four phases -- ground testing, calibration testing, performance flight testing and operational assessment.
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Enstrom Helicopter has announced a new member of its worldwide dealership network.  Beeline Helicopters, Inc. (BHI), a new enterprise under the BMG group of companies, has purchased an Enstrom 480B turbine aircraft to support the marketing and operations of Enstrom aircraft in the Philippines. The initial unit (480B) has been delivered and a grand opening was held in Manila announcing the new Enstrom Helicopter dealership. Tour and charter flights will immediately follow. Beeline is nearing the completion of their Enstrom Helicopter authorized maintenance facility.  This facility will service all Enstrom helicopters in the Philippines.
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ARINC announced it has installed advanced AviNet Type B business networking service for Air Berlin, the second largest airline in Germany and one of the fastest growing in Europe. ARINC won the new 3-year service contract in competitive bidding, and is currently deploying AviNet MQ service for the customer. With AviNet MQ, Air Berlin enjoys expanded capability for Type B messaging with its trading partners. The MQ technology offers efficient protocol translation and is a highly reliable way for Air Berlin to send and receive IATA Type B messages.
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AerCap Holdings N.V. announced that AerVenture Limited, a joint venture company owned by AerCap, LoadAir and Al Fawares, has signed agreements to lease six new Airbus A320-200 aircraft to the Portuguese national airline Transportes Aereos Portugueses ("TAP") for a period of eight years. The aircraft are powered by CFM56 engines and are scheduled to be delivered in 2009. The six new A320s will be leased to TAP under an operating lease agreement and are part of the order for 70 A320 family aircraft that the joint venture company placed in December 2005. Jose Viegas, Fleet Management Director of TAP said: "These additional A320s are a natural choice to meet TAP's expansion and replacement plans. They perfectly fit our existing single aisle fleet and they have excellent records in terms of economics and efficiency, offering the best possible comfort for the passengers."
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clickair, Spain's leading low cost carrier, carried 4.6 million passengers in 2007 and according to Eurocontrol statistics, achieved top ranking as the most punctual operator at Spanish airports – on both international and domestic services. clickair enters 2008 ready to deliver a number of inflight service enhancements, including for the first time, the option to allow business travellers to pay for the middle seat on the first few rows of their Airbus A320 aircraft (the B and E seats) for a supplement of 30 Euros.  clickair is marketing this – on more than 200 flights as its 'Premium Plus Seat', along with its existing Premium Seat (€10 for the first few aisles and emergency seat rows). The Premium Plus Seat is now live for flights on sale from 28 March and will be available until the 15 of June.
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Boeing has opened a new F-15E Mission Training Center (MTC) at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C. The center, Boeing's second overall, will provide aircrews with high-fidelity, simulator-based training without the material and personnel costs associated with training on operational aircraft. "Opening the second F-15E MTC broadens the base of the advanced training capabilities these centers deliver," said Tony Jones, vice president, Training Systems and Services, a division of IDS Support Systems. "The U.S. Air Force's 4th Fighter Wing will use the system for introductory, operational and continuation training of all F-15E unit squadrons."
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USAF Air Combat Command cleared a portion of its F-15 A-D model aircraft for flying status and recommended a limited return to flight for Air Force units worldwide following engineering risk assessments and data received from multiple fleet-wide inspections. The return to fly order and recommendation applies only to those F-15 aircraft, about 60 percent of the total Air Force F-15 A-D fleet, that have cleared all inspections and have met longeron manufacturing specifications. The order and recommendation follows more than two months of stand-down actions after an Air National Guard F-15C aircraft experienced catastrophic structural failure and broke apart in flight during a basic fighter maneuver training sortie in Missouri on Nov. 2. "The priority in resuming operations for a portion of the F-15 fleet is the defense of our nation -- America deserves nothing less," said General John D.W. Corley, Air Combat Command commander. "Aircraft inspection results and counsel from both military and industry experts have made me confident in the safety of a portion of the fleet. As a result, I have cleared those F-15s to return to fly."
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Embraer delivered 61 jets to the Commercial Aviation, Executive Aviation, and Defense and Government segments during the fourth quarter of 2007 (4Q07), meeting its goal of delivering 165 to 170 aircraft in 2007. The Company recorded the largest annual airplane delivery figure in its history, 169 jets, and its firm order backlog achieved a new record of US$ 18.8 billion, on December 31, 2007. During 2007, the Company sought to adapt its industrial processes to the delivery schedule established with customers. Such actions as hiring new employees, implementing a third shift for some of the production processes, and adopting a lean manufacturing concept for the industrial processes, allied with the determination of all employees, led the Company to a 30% increase in the number of deliveries over the previous year.
Embraer delivered 45 jets to the Commercial Aviation segment, 14 Legacy 600s to the Executive Aviation segment and two jets to the Defense and Government segment during the 4Q07.
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International Launch Services (ILS) brought in $1.5 billion in new launch orders in 2007, its first year as an independent company marketing the Proton Breeze M vehicle. This total represents contracts for 17 launches on Proton, Russia's premier heavy-lift launcher, through 2013. ILS has exclusive rights to market the Proton vehicle worldwide to commercial satellite operators. Khrunichev Space Center of Moscow, one of the cornerstones of the Russian space industry, manufactures the Proton and is in a partnership with ILS. "This was a good start in 2007," said ILS President Frank McKenna."We set a focus on performance in all aspects. We work hard to earn the confidence of not only existing customers, but also of new entrants who are entrusting the launch of their businesses to us.
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Singapore Changi Airport's new Terminal 3 commenced scheduled flight operations, witnessed by Minister for Transport and Second Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Raymond Lim.  After months of intensive preparatory tests and trials of various airport systems, the new terminal handled its first arrival flight from San Francisco at 1150 hours and saw its first departure flight at 1250 hours to London. Accompanied by Mr Liew Mun Leong, Chairman, Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) and CAAS senior management officials, Minister Lim personally welcomed passengers onboard the first arrival flight, Singapore Airlines flight SQ001.  Passengers were also greeted with a lively traditional lion dance performance and received gift bags containing congratulatory certificates for being on the first flight. Minister Lim said "I am delighted that Terminal 3 has now come to fruition. The opening of Terminal 3 marks a significant milestone for Changi Airport as it will increase Changi Airport's total annual capability to about 70 million passenger movements, enhancing its position as the regional aviation hub.  With this new terminal, we are poised to meet the demands of the growing tourist and business traffic in and out of Singapore, especially when the two integrated resorts start their operations." Since early 2007, CAAS has been conducting integrated trials to prepare Terminal 3 for flight operations.  The trials allowed CAAS and airport agencies to test the airport systems and procedures in an integrated manner ahead of the terminal's opening.  The trials were carried out on airport systems such as the passenger check-in system, baggage handling system and immigration clearance system.  Over 50 trial flights were carried out at Terminal 3 before it opened, including about 20 actual Singapore Airlines passenger flights.
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Embraer has signed Petroecuador, Empresa Estatal Petroleos del Ecuador, to one ERJ 145 jet. The contract also includes a significant logistical package for supplying replacement parts, technical support and crew training. This deal is already included in Embraer's firm order backlog announced in January 9.
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NASA's next mission to Earth's closest astronomical body is in the midst of integration and testing at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, known as LRO, will spend at least a year mapping the surface of the moon. Data from the orbiter will help NASA select safe landing sites for astronauts, identify lunar resources and study how the moon's environment will affect humans.Engineers at Goddard are building the orbiter and rigorously testing spacecraft components to ready them for the harsh environment of space. After a component or entire subsystem is qualified, it is integrated into the LRO spacecraft. The core suite of avionics for the orbiter is assembled and undergoing system tests.
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The FAA granted LoPresti SpeedMerchants the STC for its HID lighting on Bell 206 helicopters. This new light adds a safety improvement to one of the most outstanding performers of the international helicopter market. LoPresti BoomBeams DOUBLES the landing light output, and gives the pilot 10 TIMES the available light for taxiing. More light, more visibility, improved awareness and safety.
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Rolls-Royce announced a further stage in the Group's continuing programme aimed at improving efficiency and competitiveness. The Group is entering into discussions with employees and their representatives with a view to improving productivity by reducing by up to 2,300 the number of managerial, professional and clerical staff working in the business. These reductions focus on overhead and support functions. The Group will continue to recruit graduates, apprentices and those required directly to deliver growth. Rolls-Royce has a strong track record of improving sales per employee and productivity and has made significant investments across the business to achieve these gains. This has underpinned the Group's success in global markets and enabled it to generate skilled employment. Rolls-Royce has also invested substantially in strengthening its internal management capability through the introduction of new process controls and data management systems.  
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Northrop Grumman initiated the next phase of the Vertical Takeoff and Landing Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (VTUAV) MQ-8B Fire Scout development program with the first flight test using a Test and Training Control Segment. This control segment is a shelterized version of the exact consoles and other equipment being integrated into Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) for operational use of the MQ-8B Fire Scout. The first MQ-8B Fire Scout flight using this production control segment took place Dec. 15 at the Webster Field annex of Naval Air Station, Patuxent River, Md. The control segment integrates the latest Tactical Control Segment (TCS) software designed and produced by Raytheon's Intelligence and Information Systems business. This new software release, known as B2V4, incorporates updates from RQ-8A Fire Scout flight experience and incorporates provisions for both the baseline FLIR Systems BRITE Star II electro-optical and infrared (EO/IR) payload and the Northrop Grumman COBRA multi-spectral mine detection payload.
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The second production Airbus A380 (MSN005) was handed over to Singapore Airlines on 11th January in line with the latest delivery schedule. Equipped with four Rolls Royce Trent 900 engines, the second aircraft for the first A380 operator follows the delivery of the first A380 (MSN003) that took place on 15th October 2007. The second aircraft is fitted with the same spacious and luxurious cabin-interior Singapore Airlines revealed on the occasion of the delivery of their first A380, also featuring 471 seats in three classes. At the end of 2007 the first Singapore Airlines A380 had accumulated over 130 flights and around 950 flight hours. Its operation confirmed the excellent turnaround time and high ground operations efficiency, as anticipated.
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ATR and the pan-African investing conglomerate Lonrho announced the signature by Lonrho's wholly-owned subsidiary, Lonrho Air, of a MoU for the purchase of 8 ATR 72-500s. The aircraft will be operated by Fly540, an airline belonging to the conglomerate. The deal, which includes a comprehensive support and spares package, is valued at over US$ 150 million. The aircraft will be configured with 66 seats, including 12 in first class, and will be equipped with higher rated PW 127M engines, with the "Elegance Cabin" and with In-Flight Entertainment (IFE). The 8 new ATRs will also feature state-of-the-art technological innovations in the field of communications and navigation aid tools. The deliveries of these aircraft are scheduled for 2008 and 2009.  
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The Austrian Airlines Group continues to develop and expand its route network in Russia. From the beginning of the summer schedule 2008 onwards, three flights a week will take off for each of two new destinations in the Austrian schedule, the cities of Sochi and Nizhniy Novgorod. Fokker 70 aircraft will operate both routes. Traffic to Sochi begins on 1 April, with the first flight to Nizhniy Novgorod departing the following day, 2 April. Austrian already offers passengers five Russian destinations in the cities of Rostov, St. Petersburg, Moscow, Yekaterinburg and Krasnodar. By incorporating flights to Sochi and Nizhniy Novgorod into its schedule, the Austrian Airlines Group is consolidating its position as the world's second-largest airline where measured by the number of destinations in Russia. The Austrian Airlines Group is also a top player in frequency terms, as the world's third-largest carrier. Austrian Chief Executive Officer Alfred Ötsch made the following statement about the two new destinations: "As part of the highly successful Focus East strategy of the Austrian Airlines Group, we are expanding our Russian route network to seven destinations this year. Businesspeople both at home and abroad value our commitment to Russia enormously; the seven destinations we now serve are the attractive centres of population in the country, and all demonstrate a highly dynamic economic growth. In this way, we are once again underlining our leading role as a specialist and pioneer in the east, and the destinations of Sochi and Nizhniy Novgorod also strengthen our transfer traffic."
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Bristow Group announced the acquisition of eight new aircraft. Bristow has exercised options to acquire two S-92 and three S-76C++ helicopters from Sikorsky Aircraft, and three EC225 helicopters from Eurocopter, a division of EADS. The combined value of these purchases is approximately $143 million to be funded with the proceeds of previously completed financings and future operating cash flows. Bristow maintains multi-year options to purchase additional aircraft from Sikorsky and Eurocopter as market conditions require.
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NASA Friday announced Feb. 7 as the target launch date for shuttle Atlantis' STS-122 mission to the International Space Station and mid-March for the launch of Endeavour on STS-123. Liftoff of Atlantis from NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla., will be at 2:47 p.m. EST. A decision by the Russian Federal Space Agency to move up its Progress launch from Feb. 7 to Feb. 5 enables both STS-122 and STS-123 to launch before the next Russian Soyuz mission in early April. This allows astronauts assigned to the space station's Expedition 16 crew to complete the tasks they have trained for, including support of the launch and docking of Jules Verne, the first European Space Agency Automated Transfer Vehicle. Targeting Feb. 7 also allows time to complete modifications to the engine cutoff sensor system that postponed two shuttle launch attempts in December.
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FLUG REVUE 12/2016

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