02.11.2009
FLUG REVUE

News Update 2 November 2009 - News in Brief

Our weekly news roundup from around the aerospace industry.

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MTU Aero Engines Holding AG generated stable revenues of €1,954.9 in the first nine months of 2009 (1-9/08: €1,982.9 million). The EBIT margin for this period came to 10.8%, based on an operating profit of €210.8 million (1-9/2008: €238.9 million). Net income to the end of September 2009 amounted to €93.4 million (1-9/2008: €118.6 million). “The first nine months' results give us clearer confirmation of MTU's ability to meet the challenges imposed by the present market situation, and allow us to predict the development of our business through to the end of the year with greater certainty,” said Egon Behle, CEO of MTU Aero Engines Holding AG. “On this basis, we expect our year-end EBIT to be higher than originally anticipated. We are now aiming for around €290 million, which is €10 million higher than our earlier forecast, coupled with an improvement in the EBIT margin to roughly 11%, an increase of one percentage point on our original estimate. The combined impact on revenues of the U.S. dollar exchange rate and the shift in business mix will not allow us to maintain revenues at quite the same level as in the previous year. But we nevertheless expect revenues to reach around €2.6 billion by the end of 2009.” The original reve-nue forecast was around €2.8 billion. MTU is standing by its forecast for a net income of around €140 million for 2009. Similarly, year-end free cash flow is expected to lie in the region of €100 million. This represents the high end of the forecast range of between €80 million and €100 million.
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Following recent successful development testing, “Brake-To-Vacate” (BTV) and “Runway Overrun Warning and Prevention” (ROW/ROP) have both been approved and certified for the Airbus A380 by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). BTV is an Airbus innovation in pilot aid to ease airport congestion and improve runway turnaround time, and ROW/ROP addresses runway excursion risk at landing. Both BTV and ROW/ROP are patented by Airbus. BTV was designed by a transnational team in Toulouse, France and Filton, England. By harnessing the power of the A380's integral GPS and airport database based On-Board Airport Navigation System (OANS) combined with the Auto-Flight and Auto-Brake facilities, BTV gives pilots real-time visibility on realistic braking distances to reach their preferred exit. It also allows in-flight operational landing distance assessment during landing preparation. When the pilot chooses a runway exit point, the system indicates the estimated runway occupancy time and the minimum turnaround time. During the subsequent landing phase, and according to encountered runway conditions (i.e. 'wet' or dry'), the aircraft's deceleration is automatically regulated so it reaches the chosen exit at the correct speed. BTV benefits operators in the following additional ways: by lowering overall braking energy requirements and temperatures (thus reducing brake-wear); relieving maximum thrust-reverser usage on dry runways; respecting passengers' comfort (through regulated smooth deceleration); reducing noise, fuel consumption and CO2 emissions; enabling air traffic control to schedule up to 15 percent more aircraft departures; enabling airlines to maximise the number of aircraft rotations; and reducing the exposure time to a runway incursion risk (by minimising runway occupancy time).
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Lockheed Martin's new multi-functional AGM-114R HELLFIRE II missile scored a direct hit during its first proof-of-principle (POP) flight test recently at Eglin Air Force Base, FL. The HELLFIRE II design, now entering the qualification phase, features a new multi-purpose warhead that enables a single missile to cover all of the target sets of the current laser-guided HELLFIRE II variants. The POP 1 flight test featured a lock-on-before-launch engagement of a stationary target board at 3.2 miles (5.1 km). The team used a ground-based laser designator to illuminate the target. The inert missile, which was ground-launched, was equipped with an enhanced telemetry package. In addition to proving out the new components and software, the flight also verified backward compatibility with HELLFIRE II platforms that cannot provide targeting information to the missile.
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Forecast International's new “The Market for Light Military Rotorcraft” study projects a total of 2,026 rotorcraft in this market segment will be produced during the 2009-2018 time period. The value of this production is estimated at $20.8 billion in constant 2009 U.S. dollars. The Forecast International study projects that annual production of light military rotorcraft will rise each year from 2009, when 163 are expected to be produced, through 2014, when production of 227 are forecast. Helping to drive this near-term market growth are an influx of new light helicopter models that have either just entered service or will soon do so. The new models comprise a mix of all-new types and improved versions of existing helicopter models. Also contributing to the growth in the market is continuing acquisition by the U.S. armed forces of significant numbers of light helicopters. Bell is building AH-1Z attack helicopters and UH-1Y transports for the U.S. Marine Corps, while Eurocopter is producing UH-72A models for the U.S. Army's Light Utility Helicopter program.
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Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation has signed a contract with Eurocopter Deutschland GmbH to design and manufacture aircraft doors (passenger, service and cargo doors) for its next-generation regional jet, the MRJ (Mitsubishi Regional Jet), which is currently under development. Aircraft doors are safety critical components of an aircraft. Due to the demanding certification and safety requirements the doors contain a complex and failsafe mechanism to enable them to be operated under all circumstances. Eurocopter's Business Centre Airplane Door Systems, based in Donauwörth, Germany, has over 20 years of proven expertise in aircraft doors. Technical know-how combined with an attractive commercial offer enabled Eurocopter to become partner with Mitsubishi Aircraft on the MRJ regional jet in the very competitive environment of aero structures.
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Bombardier Aerospace announced that the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has purchased four Bombardier 415 amphibious aircraft that will serve to replace part of its aging aerial firefighting fleet. Based on the list price, the contract is valued at approximately $120 million US and includes aircraft modifications, spare parts provisioning, training and technical support. Deliveries of the aircraft will begin during the second quarter of 2010 and will continue through 2011.
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AgustaWestland congratulated North Memorial Air Care on reaching and surpassing a historic milestone when their A109C model helicopter achieved 10,000 flight hours. North Memorial is the first operator in the world to achieve 10,000 flight hours with an A109C helicopter. Speaking at a ceremony during the Air Medical Transport Conference in San Jose, California on Monday, Lou Bartolotta, Executive Vice-President Sales for North & South America said, “North Memorial has been a wonderful fixture within the U.S. aero-medical landscape for decades. You are among the leaders in this field and deserve tremendous credit for all of the people you have helped. We are proud to have played our part.”
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Goodrich officially unveiled its new maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility located in Sao Carlos, Brazil in the TAM Technological Condominium. The facility, Goodrich do Brasil, will initially focus on repairing International Aero Engine (IAE) V2500-A5 engine inlets, fan cowls and thrust reversers for customers in Latin America and the Caribbean. Capabilities will be expanded in the near future to service other nacelle platforms currently operating in the region. Goodrich do Brasil, part of the Goodrich Aerostructures global network of nacelle and advanced composite MRO facilities, will provide localized support for customers including MRO services and access to a pool of rotable assets. The 10,000 square foot site serves as an interim location; in 2010 Goodrich will begin renovations on a 40,000 square foot permanent facility adjacent to TAM's heavy maintenance facility in Sao Carlos.
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The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II team has established three new leadership positions to ensure a successful F-35 Initial Operational Capability (IOC) and introduction into U.S. military fleets. The new program managers, one each for the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps, will provide a direct link between Lockheed Martin and the individual services. “Lockheed Martin recognizes that we need to deliver more than a contract or a specification-compliant system to achieve real mission success,” said Dan Crowley, Lockheed Martin executive vice president and F-35 program general manager. “Service program managers are being selected to ensure each customer has a single point of entry into the program, accountable for successful fleet introduction and IOC.”
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Spirit AeroSystems formally opened its 242,000-square-foot aerospace manufacturing and design facility. The facility, which will initially produce composite sub-assemblies for Airbus single aisle aircraft, also includes an in-house design engineering team working on developing assemblies for the latest, state-of-the-art Airbus aircraft, the A350 XWB. "There are a number of reasons Spirit chose Malaysia as the location for a new facility," said Jeff Turner, President and CEO of Spirit AeroSystems, Inc. "I like to think that, although Spirit is an aerospace company, it's also a people company and it is the people in Malaysia that have convinced me that this is a great place for Spirit to grow globally."
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SkyTeam unveiled its spacious, customer-focused facility at Terminal 4 at London Heathrow airport. The new facility includes an exclusive premium check-in area for first and business class passengers, premium economy passengers, as well as SkyTeam Elite and Elite Plus passengers. Also unveiled today was the second level of the SkyTeam co-branded lounge. When the check-in area and second level of the lounge open to passengers on November 5 and November 9, respectively, the combined amenities will offer an enhanced experience for customers traveling through London Heathrow. SkyTeam is the first airline alliance to unveil a permanent, common facility in one terminal at London Heathrow.
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oneworld member airlines serving Stockholm Arlanda are to transfer their operations to the airport's newly improved and expanded Terminal 5 from Tuesday 24 November. Meantime, the alliance's biggest airport co-location project to date reached its final phase, with the last moves of the alliance's member airlines at London Heathrow.  All Qantas' operations at the airport and British Airways' Bangkok, Singapore and Sydney services have now switched from Terminal 4 to Terminal 3. Stockholm Arlanda is served by four of the alliance's carriers - British Airways, Finnair, Iberia and Malév Hungarian Airlines - with some 20 departures a day.  All four of them move into the new building at the same time. They are currently housed in Arlanda's Terminal 2.
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The Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) spacecraft, developed and built by Thales Alenia Space for the European Space Agency (ESA), has completed its in-orbit commissioning and calibration phase, by successfully passing an in-flight test review last week. The satellite's and the payload's functionalities have been fully demonstrated and initial results from the first measurement campaign - initiated on September 15 and due to last through March 2010 - are already giving amazing results, even beyond the specifications in some frequency bands. Early measurements have been successfully correlated with existing models of the Earth gravity field and shown significantly higher level of spatial detail, GOCE is the first satellite deployed on behalf of ESA's Earth Explorer program. It was designed to provide the first 3D mapping of the Earth's gravitational field, with an unprecedented level of accuracy. This unique spacecraft features an aerodynamic design to provide a low-altitude drag-free environment for a state-of-the-art and world-first gradiometer. It will map the geoid with a resolution increased with unprecedented spatial resolution and accuracy which will open up new domains of geophysical research. Both the satellite and its gradiometer have been integrated by Thales Alenia Space in, respectively, its Turin and Cannes facilities.
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Lockheed Martin successfully completed the first in a series of flight tests of the Paveway II plus Laser Guided Bomb (LGB) guidance kit. The paveway II Plus LGB uses an enhanced laser guidance package, significantly improving precision when compared to existing Paveway II LGBs. The flight test consisted of two GBU-10s released from a U.S. Navy Super Hornet at the Navy's China Lake, CA, test ranges. Each weapon included the new Paveway II Plus MAU-209C/B Computer Control Group. Both weapons, which were also equipped with telemetry instrumentation, were released using a set of pre-determined flight conditions, initiated laser guidance as planned and successfully guided to direct hits on the target.
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On October 9, 2009, the German missile system house Diehl BGT Defence successfully carried out the new IRIS-T SL (Surface Launched) surface-to-air missile's maiden flight at the OTB Test Range in South Africa with a ballistic firing test. All test objectives were achieved in the presence of representatives of the national customer: Safe missile launch from a carrier vehicle; demonstration of the missile's flight-mechanical and aerodynamic characteristics; operational performance of the newly developed rocket motor as well as controlled opening of the aerodynamic shroud. IRIS-T SL is based on the same concept as the IRIS-T air-to-air guided missile, a European cooperation program currently in series production. IRIS-T is employed by seven European nations, South Africa and Saudi Arabia as primary armament for the Eurofighter and other combat aircraft.
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The crisis of the international aviation industry has left its imprint on the earnings figures of the Austrian Airlines Group in 2009. In the first three quarters of the year, Austrian Airlines posted a net result for the period of EUR – 242.3m, compared to EUR -65.1 m in the first nine months of 2008. The business results contain extraordinary items with a major impact on earnings, i.e. impairment losses on aircraft totaling EUR -76.1m, and restructuring provisions of EUR -115.5m. The adjusted result from operating activities (EBIT) during the period January-September 2009 amounted to EUR -64.4m, down from EUR -22.5m in the comparable period of the previous year. However, Austrian Airlines posted an improvement in the third quarter, generating an adjusted EBIT of EUR 24m, outperforming Q3 2008 (EBIT of EUR -0.3m) and achieving the first positive operating results in the current financial year. “The measures being implemented are beginning to take hold. Our performance figures for the third quarter improved when adjusted for the extraordinary items,” according to the Austrian Airlines Management Board members Peter Malanik and Andreas Bierwirth: “However, we should not fool ourselves. The crisis is brutally manifesting itself. The earnings figures relentlessly show our weaknesses. They demonstrate that we still have a lot of work ahead of us in order to be able to successfully restructure the company and make it profitable.” Austrian Airlines is implementing a comprehensive restructuring concept entitled “Austrian Next Generation.”
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Lufthansa Technik Sofia, the newest member of the German aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul provider's worldwide network of subsidiaries, is today celebrating its first anniversary. Since its inauguration in October 2008, the company specializing on overhauls of narrowbody aircraft has shown continuous development and has reached a highly competitive performance level. In its first year of operation, a lot has been going on in Lufthansa Technik Sofia's two bay hangar at the Bulgarian capital's Vrazhdebna international airport. In the meantime the company has done nine heavy checks on A321 for Deutsche Lufthansa and four for Ural Airlines on A320 aircraft.
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Sikorsky Aircraft announced it has delivered the first aircraft with a cabin produced at PZL Mielec, a Sikorsky company in Poland. The 145th UH-60M BLACK HAWK helicopter was delivered to the U.S. Army on Sept. 30. It is the first of three UH-60M BLACK HAWK helicopter cabins produced by the Polish facility to date for use in UH-60M BLACK HAWK helicopters built at Sikorsky's main manufacturing plant in the U.S. "The first aircraft sale with a PZL Mielec cabin is a significant milestone in the growth of Sikorsky as a global leader in the aerospace industry and a continued commitment to meet the requirements of the UH-60M program supporting U.S. Army fieldings," said Doug Shidler, Vice President, Army programs. "Sikorsky is proud to be a global sourcing leader. This third cabin source allows us to meet the growing U.S. Army and Foreign Military Sale customer requirements for the UH-60M helicopter."
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Fraport AG's executive board chairman Dr. Stefan Schulte signed the public-private-partnership agreement (PPP agreement) for developing, reconstructing and operating St. Petersburg's Pulkovo Airport, the fourth largest airport in Russia. "Fraport and its partners in the Northern Capital Gateway consortium can be proud of winning the concession bid and to be soon taking over operation of Pulkovo Airport in April 2010," declared Schulte at the contract signing. "With Fraport, the City of St. Petersburg has found a partner that is fully dedicated to the project. We intend to make the development of Pulkovo a model project for the Russian aviation industry and for us as an airport manager." Using its extensive expertise, Fraport intends to make Pulkovo Airport the main transportation hub for one of Russia's most popular tourist regions and to expand and operate it in a steadily growing market. "With today's signing, Fraport has landed in this important market of the future," stressed Schulte. Fraport holds a 35.5 percent stake in the Northern Capital Gateway consortium; its partners are VTB Bank (with 57.5 percent), Russia's second largest financial institution; and Copelouzos Group (7 percent), a Greek business and investment conglomerate. Northern Capital Gateway will be responsible for the future development of the airport at St.
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The Air Transport Association of America (ATA), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, urged climate negotiators to oppose an exorbitant new climate change tax to be imposed on the airlines and their passengers. The so-called "International Air Passenger Adaption Levy," would single out aviation to raise $10 billion per year for climate-change projects to be built in developing countries. ATA wrote to the U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change, Todd Stern, urging the United States to strongly oppose this steep tax on international air travel. "The proposed tax would unfairly and unreasonably target one industrial sector, a sector that has a tremendous fuel and greenhouse gas efficiency record, to the detriment of the economy," said ATA President and CEO James C. May.
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