23.11.2007
FLUG REVUE

2007-11-18 - News in briefNews in brief

KURZMELDUNGEN<br /> +++<br /> The new Harmony node of the International Space Station is now in position to receive the European and Japanese modules to be added to the International Space Station.

Station crew members moved Harmony from its temporary location on the left side of the Unity node to its new home on the front of the U.S. laboratory Destiny Wednesday morning. Disengagement of the first set of bolts holding Harmony to Unity began at 3:58 a.m. EST. Expedition 16 Flight Engineer Dan Tani again operated the station's robotic arm. Working slowly and deliberately, he moved the 31,500-pound Harmony with the 1.5 ton PMA-2 at its outboard end. Canadarm2's base was attached to a power and data grapple fixture atop the Destiny laboratory. Station Commander Peggy Whitson operated the common berthing mechanisms, first to free Harmony after Tani had grappled it with the arm, and later to drive bolts firmly securing it to the front of Destiny, the position PMA-2 had occupied for seven years. Release of the bolts and latches holding Harmony to Unity was completed at 4:21 a.m. Driving of the final bolts to attach Harmony to its new home was completed at 5:45 a.m. After its Wednesday move, Harmony is in position to welcome visiting space shuttles. It also will offer docking ports to the European Space Agency's Columbus laboratory, scheduled to arrive next month, and Japan's Kibo experiment module, to become a part of the International Space Station next year.
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Bombardier Aerospace announced that Rizon Jet has placed firm orders for a widebody Challenger 605 business aircraft and a high-speed Global 5000 jet. The transaction is valued at approximately $69 million US, based on the 2007 list price. The new Bombardier Challenger 605 and Global 5000 jets will be based in Bahrain. Rizon Jet is an emergent charter operator in the Gulf region, focusing on executive travel for senior executives, senior government officials, and professionals. Rizon Jet offers cost effective pricing as well as innovative and distinguishable services. Established in the Kingdom of Bahrain in January 2007, Rizon Jet offers aircraft charter services to various destinations in the Gulf region, Middle East, Indian Subcontinent and Europe.
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The Sky-Y, an unmanned surveillance aerial vehicle, belonging to the MALE (Medium Altitude Long Endurance) class, made by Alenia Aeronautica, a Finmeccanica company, has made a consecutive eight-hour flight in Vidsel, Sweden, setting this way the endurance continental record for an aircraft of this class of over-one-tonne weight. This flight, aimed at checking full payload performance and operational procedures of both aircraft and ground station, confirms Alenia Aeronautica's leadership within the MALE aircraft class. This flight successfully ends the intense Sky-Y's tests campaign lasted about one month, after its first flight last June. The tests campaign at the Swedish Base, where the Sky-Y has been engaged in 7 flight sessions, for a total figure of 235 verification tests, have taken place, had the target of checking performances and behaviour of the aircraft at altitude and at full payload, and to test diesel propulsion, all on-board systems, self-pilot and self-navigation systems, as well as ATOL (Automatic Take Off & Landing) functions.
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Based at Dubai International Airport, Dubai Air Wing which specialises in VIP/Governmental ferry flights signs for its third Eurocopter helicopter - a Dauphin AS 365 N3 helicopter in VIP configuration. To be delivered in end 08, the Dauphin N3 caters for a seating capacity of 5 passengers and reinforces its current fleet of 2 Eurocopter helicopters (AS365 N1 and N2 helicopters) and will help to enhance Dubai Air Wing's activities in VIP/Corporate transport, a growing market in the Middle East.
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HRH Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Alsaud, Chairman of Kingdom Holding company, has signed a firm order with Airbus for an A380 Flying Palace, becoming the first customer for the VIP version of the new double-deck airliner. The A380 will be powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines. It will undergo cabin outfitting at a yet to be chosen completion centre. Airbus' A380 Flying Palace allows customers to trade up to more space, more comfort and a more modern design that flies non-stop to the world. It will also allow them to benefit from more tranquil travel in the A380's outstandingly quiet cabin, as well as the peace of mind that its four engines bring.
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Saudi Arabian Airlines, Saudi Arabia's national airline, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for 22 Airbus A320 aircraft as part of the fleet modernisation plans. The agreement allows Saudia to increase the order by eight further A320s. The agreement marks a period of rapid expansion of the aviation market in the region with Saudia experiencing unprecedented demand for air travel. The agreement is particularly significant as it marks the first time Saudi Arabian Airlines have placed an order with Airbus in some two decades. Previously, Saudi Arabian Airlines were the launch customer for the Airbus A300-600, which was delivered in 1984.
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Air Arabia, the first and largest low cost carrier in the Middle East and North Africa, has signed a firm contract for 34 Airbus A320 aircraft with an option for 15 more. The airline, based at Sharjah International Airport, United Arab Emirates, has yet to specify the engines to be installed on its new fleet. The agreement will more than treble Air Arabia's fleet, and underlines its stated ambition to increase its total operating fleet to over 50 aircraft by 2015 and become a world-leading airline.
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Honeywell announced that it has been awarded a research contract from the European Commission to support the development of an automated air traffic management system in Europe based on advanced airborne communication, navigation and surveillance technologies. Honeywell will support the iFLY research project with an analysis of safety, complexity and pilot/controller responsibilities as well as a subsequent assessment of ground and airborne system requirements. The program, led by the National Aerospace Laboratory (NLR), aims to improve efficiency and reduced delays in Europe for aircraft operating in high density traffic areas. iFLY was initiated under the Sixth Framework Programme for Research (FP6), an EC effort to develop an advanced airborne self-separation design and a highly automated air traffic management system. The program will utilize autonomous aircraft operation capabilities to help manage the continuing increase in en-route traffic levels.
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The U.S. Army has selected Raytheon to provide a common sensor payload for manned and unmanned aircraft in a program that could represent more than $1 billion in potential sales. The initial $11 million order to Raytheon is part of an indefinite delivery-indefinite quantity contract award that includes options up to $1.2 billion. The program calls for design and development, testing and air vehicle integration of a variant of Raytheon's Multi-spectral Targeting System. "The sales potential covers integration, production and mission support of airborne electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensor payloads for several Army aviation platforms," Proch said. Under the current award, follow-up production for the common sensor could be as many as 875 units. The work will be performed by Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems, McKinney, Texas.
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Interturbine and Avio-Diepen announced the foundation of a joint venture 'Inter-Avio' for distributing spare parts in the Middle East. Inter-Avio will open a sales office and warehouse on the new airport of Jebel Ali Airport. This will reduce lead times for the supply of spare parts and improve the service operators and MRO's in the region. Interturbine and Avio-Diepen strongly believe that in the strong growing aviation industry in the Middle East region Inter-Avio can meet the growing demand for high quality distribution services and supply chain management solutions. "Inter-Avio is the right initiative in this strong emerging market and also gives us opportunities to use the strong network out of Dubai into the fast growing Indian market. The JV gives us the possibility to share resources and create synergies in order not only to improve service to our customers, but also to launch new initiatives to reduce costs in the supply chain", said Vincent van Campen, President of Avio-Diepen.
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Embraer has signed the growing Virgin Nigeria airlines for eight EMBRAER 170 and two EMBRAER 190 aircraft, all Advanced Range (AR) versions. The deal includes options for another six EMBRAER 190 and purchase rights for eight EMBRAER 190 or EMBRAER 195 jets. The value of the firm order, at list price, is US$ 301 million, based on January 2007 economic conditions, and could come to US$ 800 million, if all six EMBRAER 190 options and purchase rights for eight EMBRAER 195 are confirmed.
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Falcon Aviation Services (FAS) of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE), ordered eight Embraer Executive Jets: four Phenom 300s, three Legacy 600s and one Lineage 1000 aircraft. The total value of the deal, at list price, is US$ 145.78 million. This order is already included in Embraer's backlog. The deal was announced at the 2007 Dubai Air Show, November 11-15. FAS will receive its first Legacy 600 in the second quarter of 2008. The Lineage 1000 delivery is scheduled for the second quarter of 2010, and the first Phenom 300 will be available in the second quarter of 2011.
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Embraer and Spain's Globalia Group have signed a contract for 11 executive jets. The new order, unveiled today at the 2007 Dubai Air Show, November 11-15, includes eight Phenom 100s, two Phenom 300s, and one Legacy 600. The total value of the agreement, at list price, is US$ 62.31 million. The aircraft will be operated by Pepe Jets, Globalia's newest subsidiary, one of the largest tourism groups in Spain. Globalia also owns Air Europa, Spain's second largest airline. Pepe Jets will receive its Legacy 600 in April 2008. The Phenom 100 deliveries are scheduled to begin in October 2010, and the first Phenom 300 will be available in April 2011. The aircraft are for charter and on-demand operations.
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Dassault Aviation signed an order for the sale of up to seven Falcon 7X tri-jets (four firm orders and an option for another three) to a customer in Saudi Arabia. Delivery of the first aircraft is expected to be at the end of 2009, followed by two aircraft per year, thereafter. The Falcon 7X is Dassault's best selling aircraft in the Middle East, along with the twin-engined Falcon 2000LX, both of which have been received very favorably in the region, and have recorded multiple orders from major customers. The Falcon 7X will be used for VVIP charter flights within the Middle East and around the world. With a range of 5,950 nm, the aircraft has the capability to connect the major cities, such as New York to Riyadh, Dubai to Tokyo or Rio to Jeddah.
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Emirates and Boeing anounced an order for 12 777-300ERs on the opening day of the Dubai Air Show. The approximate value of the airplane deal is $3.2 billion at list prices. The airplane order was previously listed on Boeing's Orders & Deliveries website as unidentified. Emirates' current backlog of orders for the 777 will result in nearly one airplane a month on average rolling off Boeing's Everett assembly line for the next four to five years. Emirates' current Boeing fleet is made up of 30 Boeing 777-300ERs, two Boeing 777-200LRs, 12 Boeing 777-300s, nine Boeing 777-200s and eight Boeing 747Fs.
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Boeing and LCAL announced the leasing company has placed an order for six additional 787-8 Dreamliners, expanding its fleet to 21 of the advanced-technology aircraft. The deal, worth approximately $972 million at list prices, previously was listed on the Boeing Orders and Deliveries Web site and attributed to an unidentified customer. Dubai-based LCAL was established in 2005 as an aircraft leasing company with its business based exclusively with the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The company was the first leasing company to order 787s in 2005 and will be the first leasing company to take delivery of the 787 Dreamliner in 2009.
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Elbit Systems received a new UAV order for the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). The order, valued at approximately $30 million, includes the development, manufacture and supply of new and improved UAV systems, as well as the upgrade of existing UAV systems, designed to enhance and expand the IDF's existing UAV platform. Development and supply is scheduled to take place over a period that exceeds three years. The Hermes 450 is an original development of Elbit Systems, and the IDF has been operating UAVs based on this platform for several years . During the recent war in Lebanon its UAVs flew many combat sorties proving their efficiency in performing their missions by providing effective operational results and achieving their goal - the supply of necessary, visual intelligence to the ground forces.
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Sikorsky and the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) have signed a direct commercial sale contract for 10 S-70A BLACK HAWK helicopters to upgrade the fleet used by U.A.E. Armed Forces. These helicopters will be used to support U.A.E. Armed Forces military operations. The aircraft will also be used to train pilots and technicians transitioning into this more modern and capable aircraft. Currently operating in Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, BLACK HAWK helicopter derivatives serve 26 governments around the world in a diverse range of missions, from combat assault and peacekeeping to disaster relief and medical evacuation. Sikorsky also plans to introduce a BLACK HAWK helicopter model specifically for the international market, with production taking place in Mielec, Poland, and deliveries starting in 2010-2011.
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AgustaWestland announced the signing of a contract with Gulf Helicopters of Qatar for 10 AW139 helicopters. The aircraft will be equipped for offshore passenger transportation operations. The agreement also includes the establishment of an AgustaWestland Service Station in Qatar for the AW139. The overall contract value is approximately 130 million dollar. This order further consolidates the AW139 as the best selling medium twin engine helicopter both in the Middle East region and in the worldwide offshore transport market. Gulf Helicopters is a wholly owned subsidiary of Qatar Petroleum, a company wholly owned by the government of the State of Qatar. Gulf Helicopters have been providing helicopter services since 1970 working with companies throughout the Middle East, India and North Africa. Gulf Helicopters has its own in-house maintenance facility with a team of highly qualified and experienced engineers undertaking fleet maintenance and modification work.
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Alenia delivered the first C-27J tactical transport aircraft to the Bulgarian Air Force. This is the first of five C-27Js ordered in 2006 by the Balkan country. The C-27Js, which will replace the current Bulgarian transport fleet of Antonov An-26 of soviet origin, provide Bulgaria with the most modern twin-engine tactical transport aircraft, compliant with NATO standards, interoperable with larger transport aircraft in service with other countries of the Atlantic Alliance, and capable of operating also in the most complex operational scenarios as a result of its advanced active and passive self-defence systems. The Bulgarian C-27Js are equipped with a self-defence system, DASS (active and passive Defensive Aids Sub System) capable of protecting the aircraft against surface-to-air threats, and with ballistic protection and an inert-gas fuel tank explosion protection systems, greatly enhancing the aircraft's survivability even under the most difficult mission conditions.
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Boeing and Dutch airline transavia.com have finalized an order for seven 737-800s with conversion rights to other model types. The order is worth approximately $523 million at list prices. The airline also secured options for a further three airplanes. The airplanes will operate out of the airline's Dutch hubs: Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Eindhoven. This order was previously booked on Boeing's Orders & Deliveries Web site under the unidentified customer category. The airline already operates an all-Boeing fleet of 29 Next-Generation 737s.
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The Typhoon Combined Test Team (CTT), comprising staff from BAE Systems and the RAF, has successfully completed the first mission to drop a laser guided bomb, scoring a direct hit at the Aberporth range in the UK. The trials aircraft, BT005, flown by Flt Lt Dave Bowlzer from 17 Squadron and BAE Systems test pilot Paul Stone, completed the first fully laser guided weapon release using the Litening III laser designator pod (LDP). The weapon dropped was an Enhanced Paveway II which was successfully guided onto the target to achieve the direct hit.  This live weapon release follows a series of trial sorties with the LDP and dummy weapons to prove the mission and avionics systems. This significant achievement means that the team is some way ahead of the planned schedule to deliver a full precision guided air to surface capability in advance of Typhoon's expected Operational Employment date in mid 2008. 
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The first two Hawk advanced jet trainers destined to train the next generation of Indian Air Force (IAF) fast jet pilots have departed from the UK to their new home at AFS Bidar in India. The two jets are the first of 66 Hawk aircraft to be delivered to the IAF as of part of a total training package required to meet their fast jet pilot training needs.  The programme includes 24 aircraft being built in the UK by BAE Systems and 42 aircraft being manufactured under licence in India by Bangalore's Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). A senior Indian Air Force official said: "The induction of the Hawk aircraft marks the fulfilment of a long pending requirement in the Indian Air Force for an Advanced Jet Trainer. The Hawk aircraft, with a proven design and advanced avionics, will bridge the gap between the performance spectrum of the Intermediate trainer and front line fighter aircraft which trainee pilots will finally fly in operational squadrons. As a dedicated trainer, the aircraft will greatly enhance flight safety and have a beneficial impact on the quality of training being imparted to fighter pilots." Since the contract was signed in March 2004, the Indian Hawk programme has moved at a tremendous pace. Over the past three years, in addition to manufacturing the IAF Hawks, BAE Systems, in partnership with the RAF, has delivered a training programme that will see on its completion, over 75 IAF pilots trained on the current RAF Hawk fleet at RAF Valley. Many of those who have completed the course have returned to India and gone directly onto the IAF's most sophisticated frontline aircraft – a testament to the skill of the pilots and the training they received during their time at RAF Valley. 
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Bashir Abdel Hadi, CEO of JorAMCo and Jean-Christophe Corde, CEO of Messier-Bugatti, have signed during the Dubai Airshow the "S.P.O.T." Agreement for Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul of the Messier-Bugatti wheels and carbon brakes. JorAMCo and Messier-Bugatti have a long business relationship initiated more than 20 years ago by the first agreement signature for Messier-Bugatti wheels and carbon brakes selection to equip the A310-300 and A320 of Royal Jordanian fleet. This "S.P.O.T." Agreement is one more step concluded between the two partners and will give each company the opportunity to develop its own business while offering outstanding services to the airlines.
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China launched a new Earth-observation satellite on Monday, 12 November. Just weeks after launching its first lunar orbiter Chang'e-1 toward the moon, China sent the Yaogan 3 remote-sensing satellite into orbit atop a Long March-4C rocket, according to the country's state-run Xinhua News Agency. The rocket launched into space from the Taiyun Satellite Launch Center in the Shanxi Province at 6:48 a.m. local Beijing Time, Xinhua reported. The 5,952-pound (2,700-kilogram) satellite will be used to scan available land resources, estimate crop yields and assist in disaster management, the news agency added.
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On 4 th October 2007 Schiebel's CAMCOPTER S-100 UAV System successfully completed a series of flights from an Offshore Patrol Vessel of the Indian Navy in the Arabian Sea. Another big step has been taken in the growth of Schiebel's CAMCOPTER S-100 Unmanned Air System into new roles. Beginning of October the unmanned helicopter S-100 demonstrated its shipboard capability, completing flights from a ship's helipad in the Arabian Sea, for the Indian Navy based in Cochin, Kerala (South India). Takeoffs from the deck were done both manually and autonomously. Landings generally were flown autonomously to a waypoint relative to the ship at a distance of about 50 feet above and 100 feet behind the helipad and from this waypoint the final approach and landing were executed. The weather conditions allowed takeoffs and landings at ship speeds between 8 kts and 16 kts with wind from northwest at up to 20 kts at light to moderate sea states. The longest flight was two hours, demonstrating the CAMCOPTER S-100s capability to conduct reconnaissance at 12.000 ft altitude at 25 nm distance from the moving ship. The payloads installed onboard the CAMCOPTER S-100 were an electro optical gimbal and the fixed camera in the nose which sent simultaneously video to the payload workstation. Other sensor payloads that are typically required for operational scenarios are available too, including SAR systems.
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The Australian Defence Materiel Organisation's (DMO) AIR 9000 Program has achieved another significant Program milestone with the arrival of the first two Multi-Role Helicopters (MRH) in Australia. The helicopters arrived at the Australian Aerospace facility in Brisbane inside a leased Antonov aircraft. The arrival of the aircraft was celebrated by a small ceremony at the Australian Aerospace facility involving Industry, DMO and Defence representatives. The MRH90 aircraft will be returned to flying condition after the transit, and test flown by Australian Aerospace flight test crews in preparation for delivery to the Commonwealth. The first four MRH90 aircraft were assembled at the Eurocopter facility in Marignane, France. The remaining 42 helicopters are being assembled in Brisbane by Australian Aerospace.
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In the nine-month period from January to September 2007, all key indicators of the Fraport Group improved again. Despite Frankfurt Airport's capacity constraints, passenger figures at FRA climbed by 2.1 percent and airfreight by 1.7 percent compared to the previous year. Group revenue increased by 8.3 percent and profit by some 9 percent. Accordingly, Fraport has raised its forecast for the entire year of 2007, as well as for traffic growth and operating results. And EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) are expected to be in the same range as in the 2006 record year, despite the higher positive special effects of last year. In the first nine months of 2007 Group revenue climbed by 8.3 percent to nearly EUR1.8 billion. EBITDA - which declined by some five percent in the first half of the year due mainly to the previous year's special effects - still rose by 0.7 percent and hit EUR490 million by September. The Group profit, influenced by positive tax effects, almost reached EUR219 million by September, an increase of 9.2 percent compared to the previous year. However, Bender pointed out that the company would not be able to repeat last year's record results - because the high special effects in the fourth quarter contributed over-proportionately to the full-year results of 2006.
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Sikorsky announced that the Bahrain Defense Forces have purchased another Sikorsky helicopter, selecting the VVIP S-92 helicopter for use by the Royal Bahrain Air Force.
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Aamer Abdul Jalil Al Fahim will be the first customer to receive a Lineage 1000. The jet, to be delivered in the second half of 2008, will be based in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE), and will be operated for private use. "We are delighted to welcome Aamer Abdul Jalil Al Fahim among our Executive Jets customers," said Luis Carlos Affonso, Embraer Executive Vice President, Executive Jets. "It will be an honor and a privilege to deliver the first Lineage 1000 to Mr. Al Fahim."
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Raytheon has received a $17 million U.S. Army contract to build 462 TOW (Tube-Launched, Optically-Tracked, Wire-Guided) Bunker Buster missiles for the Canadian Army. The Canadian contract is the first international sale of the TOW Bunker Buster missile, which employs a fragmenting, high-explosive warhead designed to breach or destroy a multitude of target sets -- particularly those in complex urban terrain. Under this contract, Raytheon will deliver the new wireless radio frequency command data link version of the TOW Bunker Buster missile to Canada.
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AgustaWestland announced the signing of a new contract with the Dubai Air Wing for two AW139 helicopters in VVIP configuration. More than 300 AW139 helicopters have now been ordered by customers around the world making it the best selling helicopter in its class. Over 100 AW139 helicopters are now in service worldwide in a wide range of roles including offshore transport, VIP transport, SAR, EMS, law enforcement and maritime protection.
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Delta Air Lines denied published reports that it had engaged in merger talk with United Airlines. Delta Chief Executive Officer Richard Anderson said:  "There have been no talks with United regarding any type of consolidation transaction and there are no such ongoing discussions." Delta will not speculate on possible airline consolidation and has reiterated its position on the issue.  In an earlier statement responding to reports of Pardus Capital Management's call for Delta to be a leader in airline consolidation, Anderson said: "We appreciate receiving Pardus' views on the best course for Delta's future.  We have been consistent in our public statements that Delta believes that the right consolidation transaction could generate significant value for our shareholders and employees and that strategic options should be evaluated.  With oil at over $90 a barrel, this analysis takes on a heightened importance as we factor those prices into our long-term planning process."
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In a move that will provide the United States and Australia assured access to worldwide satellite communication resources, the two countries signed an agreement today to cooperate on the Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) system, expanding the WGS constellation to six satellites. "The US-Australia WGS partnership is another example of the strength of the alliance between our nations and the effectiveness of relationship-building and development of mutually beneficial capabilities by the USAF," said Bruce Lemkin, Deputy Under Secretary of the Air Force (International Affairs). Once operational, the WGS system will provide a quantum leap in communications bandwidth for the US and Australian warfighters. It will be DoD's high capacity communications satellite in the X and Ka-band frequency range. WGS will provide deployed forces with unprecedented access to bandwidth-intensive applications such as video streaming, teleconferencing, real-time data transmission, and high-resolution imaging. In addition, the new wideband capability will offer support for the new generation of unmanned aerial vehicles, such as the Global Hawks and MQ-9 Reapers.
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Bristow Group announced it has completed the acquisition of New Iberia, LA based Vortex Helicopters, Inc., a flight training school, for approximately $2.5 million. The acquisition is part of the expansion of Bristow's Global Training Division. Vortex owns 11 training helicopters and focuses on high quality flight training for helicopter pilots, primarily from the Gulf Coast area. Upon completion of the transaction, the flight school has been renamed Bristow Academy Inc., New Iberia Campus. Patrick Corr, President of the Bristow's Global Training Division said, "Having a training school in the heart of the Gulf of Mexico region is a key element in our global strategy to address pilot recruitment and retention. The New Iberia campus will focus on attracting aspiring pilots who have a strong connection to the Gulf Coast community."
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New Egyptian airline Nile Air has agreed to buy nine Airbus A321 aircraft. The privately owned regional carrier signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Airbus to base its future fleet on the A321 aircraft. The Cairo-based start-up private airline will be Egypt's second regular carrier after Egyptair and plans to serve Riyadh, Jeddah, Medina, Dammam, Kuwait, Dubai, Doha, and Bahrain with passenger, freight, and airmail services. Dr. Nasser A. Al-Tayyar, Founder of Nile Air, said "operational economics and fleet capacity, volume and range are all critical to successful operations, and the A321 is the perfect solution to provide our required balance between volume, cost-efficiency and return on investment."
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Yemenia, the official carrier of the state of Yemen, based in Sanaa, has signed a firm contract for ten Airbus A350 XWB aircraft as part of its long haul fleet modernization programme. The selection of the A350-800 by the airline followed a thorough evaluation of the aircraft and its competitor. Yemenia's A350 XWBs will be configured in a comfortable two-class configuration with seating for 18 passengers in First Class and 265 in Economy.
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Skybus Airlines has finalized an agreement with Singapore-based BOC Aviation, a 100% owned subsidiary of Bank of China, that provides pre- and post-delivery financing for 13 new A319 aircraft with a catalog list price of over $750 million. The aircraft are due for delivery in 2009 and 2010. The deal is the second financing between BOC Aviation and Skybus. A similar agreement was finalized in April this year, covering four aircraft delivering in November and December 2008. Robert Martin, BOC Aviation Chief Executive Officer, said that the latest agreement with Skybus was a vote of confidence in the airline's business model, as well as the value of the A319 as a proven asset.
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United Launch Alliance successfully launched the first operational Delta IV Heavy expendable launch vehicle for the U.S. Air Force yesterday from Space Launch Complex-37 Nov. 10, 8:50 p.m., EST, carrying the service's Defense Support Program-23 satellite. A Delta IV Heavy demonstration flight was launched from SLC-37 in December 2004. The launch also marks the fourth ULA mission conducted for the Air Force this year and the 10th ULA mission in 2007. Weighing 5,200 pounds, the DSP-23 satellite completed a 6 hour, 20 minute mission and was deployed into its proper orbit at 3:10 a.m. EST, today. The DSP-23 launch completes the deployment of this important constellation of satellites. DSP satellites provide early warning for intercontinental ballistic missile launches and have been used by the military for more than 30 years. "Following the Delta IV Heavy test flight three years ago, the hard work and dedication of the team to prepare to launch our first operational mission was phenomenal," said Mark Wilkins, ULA vice president, Delta Programs. "We appreciate the support from our Air Force customer in achieving this milestone, and ULA is pleased to welcome the Delta IV Heavy as a member of our operational vehicle family." DSP satellites use infrared sensors to detect heat from missile and booster plumes against the Earth's background. Operated from the Space Based Infrared Systems Mission Control Station at Buckley Air Force Base, Colo., DSP satellites provide accurate and reliable launch detection data to the warfighter.  
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Spirit AeroSystems and Progresstech LTD of Moscow, Russia, announced they have signed an agreement to enter a joint venture. The new company will be known as Spirit-Progresstech LLC. Initial work to be performed is engineering consulting services. The Spirit-Progresstech LLC Branch Office will be located in Moscow. "Our partnership is mutually beneficial to both companies, in growing our business and supporting our customers around the world," said Spirit President and CEO Jeff Turner. "For Spirit, it will bring access to engineering talent and developing technologies." "We are excited about the prospects that this venture opens up for our company," said Progresstech Chairman of the Board Vladimir Kulchitsky. "Spirit AeroSystems has worked with Progresstech for several years and this joint venture is a continuation of that teamwork and success. We will be able to expand global presence and realize new opportunities."
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Orbital Sciences Corporation announced that it has been selected by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory's (AFRL) Space Vehicles Directorate, Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., for a $29.5 million contract to support the execution of the Autonomous Nanosatellite Guardian for Evaluating Local Space satellite program. The ANGELS program supports the continued initiatives of AFRL's Space Vehicle Directorate to develop innovative nanosatellite technologies capable of independently providing localized space situational awareness. "The ANGELS program will develop key technologies and capabilities for a broad spectrum of defense and civilian space missions," stated Dr. Antonio Elias, Orbital's Executive Vice President and General Manager of its Advanced Programs Group. "Under AFRL's leadership, this effort will help maintain the United States' continuing technological and industrial superiority in space."
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Bombardier Aerospace announced that Adria Airways of Ljubljana, Slovenia has signed a firm order for two Bombardier CRJ900 NextGen and one CRJ1000 NextGen regional jets. Adria is the fourth airline to order the Bombardier CRJ1000 NextGen aircraft, launched in February, 2007. The value of the order based on the aircraft list prices is approximately $122.7 million U.S. Adria Airways, a Star Alliance Regional carrier, has been a Bombardier customer since March, 1997 when it placed an order for two CRJ200 50-passenger regional jets. It currently operates seven of these aircraft as well as two 86-seat CRJ900 jets that entered service in May, 2007.
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In reference to recent media reports associating Bombardier to potential business developments in Russia, Bombardier – in its normal course of business – continues to hold exploratory discussions with several entities located around the world to address various business opportunities. As overall demand for aircraft in the business and commercial aircraft segments, in which Bombardier competes remains strong, Bombardier will continue to develop longstanding relationships with both suppliers and customers in various markets
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Boeing has completed a developmental heat shield for NASA's Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) that is designed to protect future astronauts from extreme heat during re-entry into Earth's atmosphere following lunar and low-Earth orbit missions. NASA Ames Research Center last year awarded Boeing Advanced Systems a contract to deliver a Thermal Protection System (TPS) Manufacturing Demonstration Unit (MDU) for the Orion capsule as part of NASA's Constellation program to return humans to the moon and on to Mars. "Boeing took on the challenge of engineering, fabricating and assembling the largest ablative heat shield ever constructed," said Thomas Andrews, Boeing Thermal Protection System program manager. "Our Manufacturing Demonstration Unit met NASA's Advanced Development Program risk reduction objectives to move the Orion heat shield program toward full-scale development in preparation for CEV missions." Development of the five-meter wide TPS MDU began in late 2006 at Boeing in Huntington Beach, Calif. Last month, a NASA Ames technical and quality inspection team successfully completed an acceptance review of the unit. Boeing today shipped the TPS MDU to NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida where it will undergo additional inspection.
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At the Dubai Airshow Qatar Airways, Qatar Petroleum, Qatar Fuel Company (WOQOD), Airbus, Rolls-Royce plc, Shell International Petroleum Company Limited and the Qatar Science and Technology Park signed an agreement to research the potential benefits of Synthetic Jet Fuel in aviation engines. The objective of this study is to address the feasibility and potential benefits of using Gas to Liquid (GTL) synthetic jet fuels. GTL is a technology that takes natural gas and converts it to liquid kerosene. The properties of GTL Kerosene are largely similar to conventional jet fuel making it a 'drop in' replacement for today's kerosene, capable of being used in today's aero engines, aircraft and airports without any modifications. The focus of the research will be on evaluating potential improvements in local air quality, fuel economy and overall reduction in CO2 and other emissions. Specific studies will also look at operational benefits for airlines, such as enhanced payload-range, reduced fuel-burn and increased engine durability. GTL synthetic jet fuels are currently being developed to meet international standards required for use in aviation under the auspices of the industry-wide Commercial Alternative Aviation Fuels Initiative (CAAFI) of which Airbus, Rolls-Royce and Shell are all members The synthetic fuels will initially be mixed with standard kerosene to enable the group to model aircraft and engine performance, with a view to exploring the potential of fully synthetic fuels.
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ATR announced the signature of a MoU with the Mexican carrier AEROMAR for the purchase of 2 ATR 72-500s. The total value of this agreement is over US $ 36 million. With these 2 ATRs, powered with new, higher rated PW 127M engines developed for "Hot and High" operations, AEROMAR will add 2 new aircraft to its ATR 42 fleet and, for the first time, it will integrate 70 seat aircraft. The aircraft will be equipped with the "Elegance" cabin and the "In-flight Entertainment" system as well as with state-of-the-art technological innovations in passenger comfort, communications and navigation aid tools.
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Northrop Grumman's relative navigation software and highly accurate fiber-optic inertial navigation system provided the precise positioning information used to successfully complete the positions and pathways flight test of Air Force Research Laboratory's (AFRL) Automated Aerial Refueling (AAR) program. "Northrop Grumman's relative navigation algorithms were the key to the positions and pathways flight test," said Jacob Hinchman, AAR program manager at the Air Force Research Laboratory. "These algorithms provided a new level of accuracy in fused precision global positioning system/inertial navigation system relative positioning." The AFRL's Air Vehicle Directorate AAR flight tests, completed in Sept. 2007, were performed using a Learjet, which acted as a surrogate for an unmanned refueling receiver aircraft. The purpose of the AAR program is to demonstrate the capability of refueling unmanned aerial vehicles with the existing Air Force tanker fleet. The flight tests demonstrated the ability of the AAR system to autonomously execute aerial refueling maneuvers in close proximity to a tanker and to practice breakaways. During one of the flights, the AAR system was engaged and flew transitions for a total of 75 minutes. It also held at a precise contact position for 20 consecutive minutes, allowing the Learjet to follow the KC-135 through multiple refueling orbits -- all without pilot inputs. During these tests, Northrop Grumman's relative navigation software fused raw GPS measurement data and inertial navigation data from both the tanker and Learjet to provide the Learjet with the required relative motion information.
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Northrop Grumman successfully hot-fire tested a radically new type of rocket engine specifically designed to use oxygen and methane propellants that range from all-gas to all-liquid at the inlet to the thruster. More than 50 separate tests demonstrated high performance, operating stability and ample design margin of this 100 lbf-thrust rocket, designated the TR408. The successful tests validate the robust capabilities and high performance of the integrated engine design. "The demonstration test results are impressive considering the broad range of conditions and operational modes tested. The engine far exceeded performance requirements and is on track to deliver a steady-state specific impulse of 340 seconds," stated Mark Trinidad, Northrop Grumman's program manager for the TR408. The TR408 is a simple design that uses only two propellant valves, no moving parts other than valves, and contains a built-in spark igniter to initiate combustion of injected propellants. The reaction control engine operates under short pulse and steady-state modes. This engine is unique in its capability to fully vaporize both the oxidizer (liquid oxygen) and fuel (liquid methane) by passing these propellants through cooling passages located in the thrust chamber wall before injecting them into the chamber for combustion. If gaseous instead of cryogenic liquid propellants are fed to the engine, the gases still provide cooling and will enter the injector at a higher temperature. A design that ensures gas-gas injection results in consistent performance and combustion stability. Previous rocket engine designs using propellant to cool the chamber do not vaporize any of the propellant or may only vaporize one of the propellants, typically the fuel. The ability to operate under a broad range of inlet conditions is critical for reducing the complexity and weight of cryogenic propulsion systems that perform random pulsing for attitude control. "We are pleased that in 16 months from contract award, we were able to provide NASA with this demonstration of innovative technology that addresses a critical mission need," said Tom Romesser, vice president of the Technology & Emerging Systems Division for Northrop Grumman's Space Technology sector.
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At a grand opening ceremony, American Eurocopter celebrated the opening of their new West Coast Regional Support Facility in Long Beach, CA. This new facility is located on the Long Beach Airport in the Daugherty Skyharbor Complex. American Eurocopter President and CEO Marc Paganini welcomed Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster, Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske, customers and press to the new facility. American Eurocopter is the number one producer of civil turbine, law enforcement, and air medical helicopters in the United States. The opening of the West Coast Regional Support Facility is part of the company's overall plan to bring its maintenance and repair services closer to its customers and to improve customer support.
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Following the FAA's award of a Supplemental Type Certificate for 737-900 Blended Winglets to Aviation Partners Boeing, Alaska Airlines is the first airline to install winglets on the aircraft type and experience the associated improvements in aircraft performance. Aviation Partners Boeing launched the new winglet model late last year with orders from Alaska Airlines, Continental Airlines and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. The 737-900 Blended Winglet FAA certification was completed on schedule following a twelve month development program which included a short flight test program to demonstrate compatibility with Alaska's heads-up guidance system. EASA certification of 737-900 Blended Winglets is expected early next year.
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China Southern Airlines officially became the 11th full member of SkyTeam, making the alliance the first to welcome a carrier from the mainland of China. China is one of the fastest growing aviation markets in the world and the addition of China Southern allows SkyTeam to provide its customers around the world with greater travel options to one of the world's top tourist destinations. With the addition of China Southern Airlines, SkyTeam now serves approximately 428 million annual passengers through a worldwide system of 16,400 daily flights covering 841 destinations in 162 countries. China Southern, with the most extensive airline route network in China, operates the largest and most advanced airline fleet in the country. The carrier is also widely recognized for its safety and customer service standards, and was honored with the Four-Star Flight Safety Award by the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China (CAAC) in 2007 -- the most prestigious award in safe flight operations in the Chinese aviation industry.
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During the 8 th Embraer Day held November 13 and 14 in Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil, Embraer presented its 20-year forecast for world demand of 30 to 120-seat commercial jets, as well as its ten-year forecast for the executive aviation market. At the same event, Embraer announced its commercial and executive jet delivery forecast for 2008 and 2009. Embraer projects that world air traffic demand will increase by 4.9% per year in 2008-2027, with China presenting the highest growth rate (7.5% per year). Latin America, Middle East, Asia Pacific, Russia/CIS and Africa will grow around 5.5%, and mature markets, such as North America and Europe, around 4%. Embraer foresees a global demand for 7,450 jets in the 30 to 120-seat capacity segment over the next 20 years, resulting in a total market value estimated at US$235 billion. The Company projects that 3,150 aircraft will be delivered in 2008-2017, with the remaining 4,300 units to be delivered in 2018-2027. The forecast indicates that the 30 to 60-seat capacity segment has reached maturity, but will remain the backbone of the USA and Europe hub feeding system and will support the regional aviation development in some other world regions, such as China and Russia/CIS. The 61 to 120-seat aircraft will continue to help airlines to match capacity to market demand with improved service levels, through the right- sizing of low load factor narrow-body flights, the natural growth of 50-seat regional jets and the expansion into mid-sized markets. Embraer forecasts a demand for 13,150 business jets over the next decade, valued at approximately US$ 201 billion. The new air taxi market may add yet another 3,500 to 4,400 aircraft to the Very Light Jet segment. Embraer entered the Very Light and Light Jet segments with the launch of the clean-sheet design Phenom jets (the Phenom 100 and Phenom 300) in May 2005. The Company introduced the Lineage 1000, an ultra-large executive jet based on the EMBRAER 190 commercial jet platform, in May 2006.
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Eclipse Aviation announced during its first appearance at the Dubai Airshow, that it has sold 12 Eclipse 500 jets to Dubai Aerospace Enterprise Flight Academy (DAEFA). The purchase marks Eclipse Aviation's entry into the ab initio flight training market. Delivery of these Eclipse 500s will begin in 2008. DAEFA will use the Eclipse 500 jets in its new ab initio training program. DAE University plans to open the Flight Academy in March 2008 in the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah at the site of a former air force base. It will be the first school of its type to use the Eclipse 500 and the program will offer a 12-month course starting every month with up to 400 students in training at any given time. DAEFA takes zero-time pilots and trains them in Technically Advanced Aircraft (TAA). Students will start their training in a Cirrus SR22, progress to an Eclipse 500, and finish with a type rating in a multi-crew jet transport aircraft. DAEFA plans to train thousands of aerospace and aviation professionals to fill the shortage of airline pilots in the Middle East, Europe, India, and North Africa.
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NASA and industry engineers successfully tested the main parachute for Constellation Program rockets during a drop test Thursday at the U.S. Army's Yuma Proving Ground near Yuma, Ariz. The parachute system will allow Ares I and Ares V first stage boosters to be recovered and reused. Thursday's test validated the results of an earlier test conducted in September."Measuring 150-feet in diameter and weighing 2,000 pounds, this is the biggest chute of its kind that's been tested," said Steve Cook, director of the Ares Projects Office at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. "With each milestone, we bring ourselves one step closer to further exploring the moon."
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The 2007 Dubai Air Show comes to an end with Embraer reporting more than US$ 1.1 billion in firm orders from nine customers worldwide. The Lineage 1000 ultra-large business jet, in particular, has been very successful, recently, with seven firm orders from three clients (Aamer Abdul Jalil Al Fahim, Al Jaber Aviation, and Falcon Aviation). At the show, Embraer also revealed firm orders for seven Legacy 600s from four customers (Al Jaber, Falcon Aviation, Globalia, and Platinum) and 37 Phenom jets (from Falcon Aviation, Globalia, Invision, and DANA Airlines). "The Middle East region continues to thrive as one of today's most significant business aviation markets," said Luis Carlos Affonso, Embraer Executive Vice President, Executive Jets. "We displayed our complete Executive Jets portfolio at the Dubai Air Show, and visitors were able to see for the first time in the region the cabin mock-ups of the Lineage 1000 and Phenom 300. We were glad to see the great acceptance for our jets and to disclose firm orders for 51 aircraft, valued at more than US$ 623 million."
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Sikorsky announced that China Southern Airlines Company's Zhuhai Helicopter Branch has contracted for additional Sikorsky helicopters to support offshore oil projects in the South China Sea and Bohai Bay in China. Zhuhai is the oldest operator of Sikorsky helicopters in China and has purchased two S-76C++ helicopters and an S-92A helicopter. Zhuhai began flying S-76A helicopter models in 1984, and since then has used Sikorsky helicopters to provide offshore oil support for such companies as China National Offshore Oil Corp., ExxonMobil, and Phillips.
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The South African government has reported that Saab, and its Gripen programme partner BAE Systems, has delivered $US 5.3 billion of new economic benefits through offset projects arising from its acquisition of Gripen fighters and Hawk trainers. In its 2007 annual report, South Africa's Department of Trade & Industry (DTI), announced to Parliament that the delivery of the combined Saab - BAE Systems offset, linked to South Africa's joint Gripen and Hawk acquisition programme, was ahead of schedule with a surplus of economic benefits being delivered by August 2007. The Gripen industrial partners have delivered $US 4.8 billion of new economic benefits to South Africa so far and are well on track to fulfil their $US 8.7 billion offset target by 2012. South Africa will take delivery of the first of its 26 Gripen new generation fighters, a two-seater D variant, in March 2008, with the final aircraft being delivered in 2012.
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Saudi Arabian Airlines, the national carrier of Saudi Arabia, and GE Aviation have reached a cooperative agreement to support the airline's ambitious plan to launch overhaul services on GE90, CF6 and CF34 engines. Under the agreement, GE Aviation will support Saudi Arabian Airlines' new state-of-the-art facility that will be built in King Abdul Aziz Airport in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The facility will serve the Saudi Arabian and the region market. Additionally, Saudi Arabian Airlines and GE have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for GE to supply material to the airline for 14 years from when the new overhaul facility begins operation. The agreement is valued at about $1.4 billion (USD) over the life of the contract.
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Sukhoi Superjet 100's airframe tests have been completed, offering solid ground for permissions in terms of static strength, required for the first flight. Since July 2007 a series of airframe tests was conducted at operational load. This test scenario helps to promptly obtain all the essential static strength permissions vital for the first flight. Prior to the certification of the aircraft, tests on design load are ahead. So far the Central Aerohydrodynamics Institute (TsAGI) has undergone wing box tests involving two maximal loading cases and a series of tests of Sukhoi Superjet 100's hinge joints of the main landing gear (MLG), engine pylon being a part of the airframe, and fuselage hermeticity. Furthermore, the fuselage has already experienced pressure testing. Novosibirsk (Russia) and Latvia hosted isolated composite materials assembly parts tests on design loads. The loading degree was increased with due account for extra safety factors that have to do with the application of composite materials and attachment of composite assembly units to the aircraft itself. November 2, 2007 witnessed combined tests of aircraft horizontal and vertical tail surfaces.  
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Ethiopian Airlines and Africair, Inc., Cessna Aircraft Company's authorized representative for Ethiopia, announced today a contract for 10 new turbo diesel Skyhawks. Cessna announced the diesel option for the Model 172S at the U.S. Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association annual Expo in October. The Cessna Skyhawk TD (turbo diesel) is a new variant of the 172 Skyhawk, aviation's most popular aircraft seeing extensive use in flight training and pleasure flying throughout the world. The Skyhawk TD is powered by a 155 horsepower Centurion 2.0 diesel engine manufactured by Germany's Thielert Aircraft Engines Gmbh. The engine burns JetA-1 fuel, making it a popular option in countries where Avgas is scarce. The Skyhawk TD was selected by Ethiopian Airlines to replace its current training fleet of 10 Cessna 172XPs due not only to the lower operating cost provided by the Jet A-1 powered aircraft, but also to the excellent support the airline has received from Cessna and Africair during the past 20 years. Ethiopian Airlines lauded the Skyhawk TD as a more economical aircraft that, along with the advanced Garmin G1000 avionics, made it the logical choice for the modernization of its fleet.
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The Austrian route network continues to develop dynamically, not only in Eastern Europe but also in the Middle East and Levant region. Due to the strategic geographical location of Vienna, Austrian can use its fleet of medium-haul aircraft to serve destinations up to six hours' flight from Central Europe. Austrian Airlines is seeking to continue its policy of expansion in these high-growth economic regions. The new Premium Service will enable Austrian to increase its competitive edge in the Middle East and Eastern Europe will be increased further still. In an effort to make longer medium-haul flights an even more comfortable travel experience, moreover, Austrian Airlines is converting four of its Airbus A320 aircraft on a staged basis until September 2008, equipping the Business Class zones of each aircraft with 24 exclusive Recaro business sleeper seats. The seats will provide a range of state-of-the-art features including 116 cm of legroom, a backrest set at a tilt offering the maximum level of comfort, electronically adjustable backrest and footrest and integrated massage function, ensuring the user experiences a relaxed flight. An integrated PC socket, individual reading light and personal screen complete the features offered by the seat. Every passenger receives a personal and individually operable DVD player for the flight. A wide-ranging assortment of newspapers and magazines and richly varied, exclusive fly & buy inflight sales range also ensure a highly enjoyable travel experience.
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Lufthansa Technik's Completion Center is the first in the world to have signed a contract for the completion of a Boeing 747-8 for a VIP customer. The customer, whose identity has not been disclosed, signed a memorandum of understanding with Lufthansa Technik at the beginning of November. Installation of the interior for the latest version of the Jumbo will entail maximum 18 months of work at the Hamburg Completion Center. It was only this September, at the NBAA Convention, that Lufthansa Technik announced its Completion Centre was ready to handle the Boeing 747-8.
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The UK's second biggest full service airline and Star Alliance partner, bmi, and its low-cost subsidiary, bmibaby, have contracted Lufthansa Technik, the world's leading provider of technical services for commercial aircraft, for the aircraft overhaul of their fleets. Under the agreement, Lufthansa Technik will take over all base maintenance for the Boeing and Airbus fleets of the two airlines over the next five years. The deal is worth in excess of 50 million euro. Lufthansa Technik will be responsible for all base maintenance checks for bmi's 24 A320-family aircraft and three Airbus A330 aircraft, the newly added ex-BMED (British Mediterranean Airways)-fleet of 8 A320-family aircraft and for bmibaby's growing fleet of Boeing 737 Classics currently at 21 aircraft. Over the next 5 years more than 150 heavy maintenance events, will be performed at several sites within the Lufthansa Technik Group. According to current plans, most of the work will be carried out by Lufthansa Technik Budapest and Lufthansa Technik Malta.
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Single-aisle airplanes will dominate deliveries to the German market, with carriers requiring 620 single-aisle jetliners valued at approximately $43 billion. Additionally, German airlines will need 170 twin-aisle airplanes valued at $34 billion. In terms of dollar value, this segment will make up nearly 40 percent of the total volume.German airlines will also require approximately 70 airplanes the size of the 747 or larger, at a value of $20 billion."Single-aisle and twin-aisle airplanes seating 100 passengers or more account for 85 percent of the future market demand in units and 78 percent in terms of value in Germany," said Drew Magill, director, Marketing, for Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "These airplanes will serve the growing demand for nonstop flights, connecting an increasing number of city pairs. "New products such as the 787 and the 747-8 will benefit the region with enhanced environmental performance, passenger comfort and efficiency," Magill said. By 2026, approximately 90 percent of the German fleet will comprise new-technology airplanes delivered since 2007. This near total roll-over of the German fleet with advanced airplanes will result in significantly reduced emissions and noise. More than half of the new airplanes entering the German fleet -- about 520 jetliners -- will be for replacement. The remaining 410 airplanes will meet growth requirements in the German market. Airlines in Europe will require around 6,670 new aircraft over the next 20 years, corresponding to a value of $660 billion. This growth is driven by continued economic integration and liberalisation. The total aircraft fleet in Europe will increase to around 7,660 aircraft until 2026. The major part of the delivered aircraft will be for single-aisle airplanes (4,630), with twin-aisle aircraft accounting for 1,360 and aircraft of the 747-or-larger size category accounting for 230 aircraft.
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Bell Helicopter announced the sale of four of its new 429 model aircraft to California Shock Trauma Air Rescue (CALSTAR), a regional 501(c)(3) non-profit helicopter ambulance service. The 429, currently in flight test, will begin customer deliveries late in 2008. Since its introduction into the marketplace the Bell 429 has seen an ever increasing order backlog that now stands well over 200.
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US Air Force officials released Amendment 5 to the Request for Proposals (RFP) for the Combat Search and Rescue replacement vehicle (CSAR-X) on November 15, 2007. The Air Force has conducted face-to-face meetings with all CSAR-X offerors after the release of Draft RFP Amendment 5. These face-to-face meetings between the Air Force and CSAR-X offerors were held to foster open communications and ensure a mutual understanding of Draft RFP Amendment 5.  The offerors have been given 53 days to respond to RFP Amendment 5. This amendment allows the offerors an opportunity to update any portion of their proposals. The Air Force's performance-based requirements have not changed, and the Air Force will continue to evaluate the offerors' updated proposals fairly and transparently. The goal of the Air Force remains constant --to procure 141 CSAR-X aircraft to replace the current fleet of 101 aging and performance-limited HH-60Gs. CSAR-X remains the number two acquisition priority for the United States Air Force. 

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