23.11.2009
FLUG REVUE

News Update 23 November 2009 - News in Brief

Our weekly news roundup from around the aerospace industry.

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Rolls-Royce has won an order for Trent 700 engines to power 20 Air China Airbus A330 aircraft. The contract, worth $1.5bn at list prices, includes long-term TotalCare# service support. The aircraft, to be delivered from 2011, will take Air China's Rolls-Royce powered A330 fleet to a total of 43.

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The U.S. government executed separate Letters of Offer and Acceptance with three of its key allies to purchase Raytheon's  AIM-120C-7 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM). The three countries, in the order they signed their LOAs, are Kuwait, Morocco and Jordan. The three countries will receive an undisclosed quantity of missiles for use in both air-to-air and air defense missions.

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Boeing has completed installing reinforcements within the side-of-body section of two more 787 Dreamliners. Over the weekend, employees at Boeing's facility in Everett, Wash., finished reinforcing the full-scale static test airframe and the second Dreamliner designated for flight test. Installations were completed Nov. 11 on the first flight-test airplane. The modification entails installing new fittings at 34 stringer locations within the joint where the wing is attached to the fuselage. The static test airframe is being refitted with strain gauges and instrumentation required for testing. Access doors, systems, seals and fasteners removed from airplane No. 2 to provide access are being restored in preparation for continued testing on the airplane. The first 787 also is being restored.

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Ethiopian Airlines has ordered 12 Airbus A350 XWB aircraft, bringing total orders for the A350 XWB family to 505, not even three years after launch of the programme. In selecting the A350-900 to operate from their hub in Addis Ababa on routes to Europe, the US and Asia, Ethiopian Airlines becomes a new member in Airbus’ family of over 300 customers.

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Northrop Grumman's Shipbuilding sector hosted a keel laying ceremony for the next generation aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), in Newport News, Va. Susan Ford Bales, daughter of President Gerald R. Ford, served as the ship's sponsor and keel authenticator for the ceremony. Bales authenticated the keel by chalking her initials onto a metal plate. Her initials were then welded onto the plate, which will be permanently affixed to the ship.

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Indonesia’s carrier WINGS AIR, -a subsidiary of Indonesian largest private carrier LION AIR -, and ATR announced the signature of a contract for the purchase of 15 ATR 72-500s, with options for 15 ATR 72-600s series aircraft. This order, which was initially announced in November 2008 as an MoU for 10 firm ATR 72-500s plus options for 10 additional ATR72-500/600s, has now been increased by 5 firm and 5 option aircraft. The total amount of the agreement, including options, is valued at some US $ 600 million. These 72-seat aircraft will enable WINGS AIR to become the launch customer for the ATR 72-500s in Indonesia and the largest ATR operator in the country.

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Yemenia, the official carrier of the state of Yemen, based in Sanaa, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for 10 Airbus A320 Family aircraft. The agreement was signed at the 2009 Dubai Airshow by Saleh Alawaji, Yemenia Member of the board of directors on behalf of Captain Abdulkhalek Al-Kadi, Chairman of Yemenia and John Leahy, Chief Operating Officer, Customers.

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328 Support Services GmbH announced that it has been awarded FAA Repair Station status for the Dornier 328 JET and turboprop (No 328Y969Y) in recognition of its VIP conversion work, hitherto focused in Europe. It is a significant milestone for the company as it works to complete its first VIP jet destined for US customer Aviando Services. 328 Support is progressing well with its first “N” registered 12-seat VIP conversion  - Serial No 3209 for Aviando Services of Miami, Florida which is scheduled for delivery in the first quarter of 2010.

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In the perspective of taking an active role in the development of cutting-edge technologies in the United Arab Emirates, the Safran group signed two joint venture agreements with a significant UAE partner, the Baynuna group: Snecbat Engine Technologies”, a joint-venture between Snecma (Safran group) and Baynuna Aviation Technology; “Sagembat Defense”, a joint-venture between Sagem (Safran group) and Baynuna Aviation Technology. Snecma Chairman and CEO Philippe Petitcolin, Sagem Chairman and CEO Jean-Lin Fournereaux, and Baynuna Aviation Technology Chairman Khalid Abdullah Al Bu-Ainnain signed at the Dubai Airshow the Memorandums of Association (LLC) for the establishment of the two joint-ventures, in a ceremony attended by Jean-Paul Herteman, CEO of Safran, and other high level Safran representatives.

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Qatar Airways and Lufthansa Technik are expanding their long-standing partnership even further. At the Dubai Airshow, the two companies announced the conclusion of a contract on cabin modifications for four Airbus A340-600 aircraft. With the Doha International Airport Steering Committee (NDIA SC) a contract was signed governing the consulting for the construction of a maintenance hangar for Qatar Airways in Doha. The contract for cabin modifications for four A340-600s covers changes in the mix of seat classes and modifications to the galleys and overhead bins. Work on the aircraft has already begun at the Lufthansa Technik facility in Frankfurt. Each conversion is expected to take approximately 5,000 hours of work and should be completed as soon as January 2010. C-checks on the aircraft will be conducted simultaneously.

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Boeing and Air Algerie announced an order for seven Next-Generation 737-800s at Dubai Airshow 2009. The airplanes will grow the Air Algerie Next-Generation 737 fleet to 22 airplanes. The new airplanes will help the airline leverage the efficiencies of a standard single-aisle fleet that delivers high fuel efficiency and related environmental improvements, said Air Algerie CEO Abdelwahid Bouabdallah.

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Tassili Airlines of Algeria placed its first order for Boeing airplanes with a signed deal for four Next-Generation 737-800s, announced today at Dubai Airshow 2009. Tassili Airlines, a 100-percent-owned subsidiary of government-owned Sonatrach Petroleum Corporation, will use the 737-800s to transport employees and cargo between large Algerian cities and Sonatrach work sites. Tassili plans to put its 737s into commercial passenger service on domestic and regional routes in the near future.

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Fraport AG reached an agreement with the ver.di and komba unions on the key points of a new collective agreement for the company's ground services staff at Frankfurt Airport (FRA). Fraport executive board chairman Dr. Stefan Schulte and executive board member for labor relations Herbert Mai expressed their satisfaction with the results of the negotiations. "After very intensive discussions we finally were able to reach an acceptable agreement," declared Schulte. Most importantly, a ground services strike has been averted at FRA and the common goal of maintaining Fraport's integrated business model (with ground services as a vital element) has been achieved. "Thus, we have created the foundation for medium and long-term competitiveness of our ground services business segment. Furthermore, Fraport will continue to offer its customers top services on the ramp at a recognized high quality level," stressed Schulte. Fraport's executive labor director pointed out the essential key points of the new collective agreement. Under the agreement, lower pay rates will be introduced for newly hired employees - especially for those in operational areas of Fraport Ground Services. Furthermore, it was agreed not to spin off any business areas from the company. The new agreement also guarantees the current rights for existing employees, more efficient regulations for alternating shifts, the promise to continue the partial retirement scheme for operational ground services staff, and comprehensive arrangements for taking over apprentices upon completion of their training. "The contract furthermore stipulates that newly hired staff required for ground services will also become employees of Fraport AG. The agreement will run until the end of 2018," explained Mai. The key-points agreement must be seen in conjunction with the Pact for the Future 2018, which Fraport's works council also approved today. This Pact for the Future specifies that there will not be any operations-related job dismissals through 2018. In return, any bonuses outside the general pay scale will be continuously reduced.

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BAE Systems has won an exclusive mandate from an unnamed Middle East operator to remarket a Boeing 767-300ER wide-body airliner for sale or lease. This late model aircraft is a GE CF6-80C2B7F-powered variant and is configured in a high standard three-class 196-seat interior layout.

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Air Austral, based in Saint Denis, La Réunion, has ordered two A380s, the most advanced, spacious and eco-efficient airliner in service today. Powered by Engine Alliance engines and seating around 840 passengers in a single-class configuration, the aircraft will be operated on the high-density route from La Réunion to Paris, France. 20 A380s are in service with four customers, connecting four continents on 13 major international routes. The in-service A380 fleet has accumulated over 82,000 revenue flight hours in over 8,700 commercial flights. Over 3 million passengers have already enjoyed flying the A380.

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GE Aviation of the United States and AVIC Systems of China today announced agreement on forming a new joint venture company to develop and market integrated avionics systems for commercial aircraft customers. The announcement was made as part of "GE's Clean Technology Week in China" activities. Jeff Immelt, Chairman and CEO of GE and Lin Zuoming, president of AVIC, signed a framework agreement for open architecture avionics. Definitive documentation is being put in place with the goal of launching a new JV company by mid-2010, subject to receiving all required regulatory approvals. The new avionics company, to be headquartered in China, will offer fully integrated, open architecture avionics and services for future commercial aircraft programs. GE will build on its extensive avionics capabilities and its China Technology Center in Shanghai to create a technology center of excellence to serve the commercial aviation market.

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The first Saab 340 Erieye AEW, Airborne Early Warning, for Thailand completed its maiden flight on November 13. The Saab 340 Erieye AEW flight took two hours and 14 minutes and was executed by Magnus Fredriksson and Åke Wargh from Saab. "The flight went as expected and we tested all the basic aircraft systems. We now look forward to continuing the tests in order to then be able to deliver the aircraft to Thailand," says Magnus Fredriksson. In 2008, Thailand ordered a complete aircraft and command and control system from the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) in a Government to Government deal. The order includes six Gripen C/D with associated equipment and service, a Saab 340 AEW equipped with Erieye radar and data links, one Saab 340 aircraft for transport and training plus a command and control system with data links.

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Sikorsky Aircraft announced at the Dubai Air Show that Falcon Aviation Services (FAS) has contracted to purchase two Sikorsky S-76D helicopters, with options to purchase two more, becoming the worldwide launch customer for the new aircraft. FAS is based in Abu Dhabi and provides a wide array of helicopter and jet services, ranging from aerial tours to offshore oil and gas transport and corporate jet charter. The S-76D helicopters are scheduled for delivery to FAS starting in 2011. The aircraft will be configured for VIP corporate, helitaxi, and offshore oil and gas support missions.  The S-76D helicopters will become the first Sikorsky aircraft in the FAS fleet, which currently numbers 21 helicopters and five corporate jets.

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Nepal’s national carrier, Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) is modernising its international fleet with one A330-200 wide-body and one Airbus A320 single aisle aircraft. The new Airbus aircraft will be deployed on international services to Japan and will for the very first time connect Nepal to Europe with direct flights. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was formalised at the Dubai air show. The two class, A330-200 will be deployed on routes to Europe and North Asia and will play an instrumental role in developing Nepal’s tourism industry especially around to country’s ‘Visit Nepal 2011’ tourism campaign to attract foreign tourists.

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Goodrich has signed an agreement with an investment affiliate of J.F. Lehman & Company to acquire AIS Global Holdings LLC (AIS). AIS, known as Atlantic Inertial Systems, is a leading provider of mission-critical guidance, stabilization and navigation products and systems for the military and defense market. The transaction is expected to close by the end of 2009, subject to customary government approvals. Sales in 2009 for the business are expected to be approximately $180 million, and are expected to grow significantly over the next several years. The purchase price is approximately $375 million, reflecting a multiple of slightly less than nine times 2009 estimated adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA). The acquisition is expected to be slightly accretive to earnings in 2010, including the impact of purchase accounting adjustments.

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AAI Corporation announced that it has entered into a licensing agreement with Carter Aviation Technologies LLC, giving AAI exclusive access to Carter’s Slowed Rotor/Compound (SR/C) technology for all unmanned aircraft applications. AAI will provide guidance, support and resources to Carter for continued development and maturation of its SR/C technology, after which AAI intends to develop unmanned aircraft variants for several applications. Carter’s SR/C technology is a fixed- and rotary-wing hybrid that uses multiple proprietary approaches to deliver high speed, long endurance and vertical/short takeoff and landing capability at low cost. These features are well suited for unmanned aircraft that serve multiple mission roles. With runway-independent capability, expeditionary operations typically reserved for conventional vertical-lift platforms can be executed without the cost and performance penalties inherent in those traditional vertical takeoff and landing platforms.

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Bombardier Aerospace celebrated another major milestone in the CSeries aircraft programme as construction got under way on its new state-ofthe-art aircraft wing manufacturing and assembly facility in Belfast, Northern Ireland. “This is another significant milestone in the ongoing development of the CSeries aircraft programme. In August, the test fuselage barrel arrived ahead of schedule at our St-Laurent, Québec site, from China, and in September we celebrated the groundbreaking of our first CSeries aircraft manufacturing building in Mirabel, Québec.

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Abu Dhabi Aviation and AgustaWestland have reached an agreement to set up in the UAE a joint venture to operate in the field of maintenance and training for helicopters. The two companies agreed to participate in the formation of a limited liability company to carry out certain services and activities in the fields of helicopter repair and overhaul, customisation, modification and upgrading, and the sale of helicopter spare parts and accessories. Also the JV shall work in association with other local companies in the development of a fully integrated helicopter pilot training center to be set up in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. In addition to its other helicopter and fixed wing fleets, Abu Dhabi Aviation also owns Maximus Air Cargo, the largest air cargo provider in the Middle East and is a 50% shareholder of Royal Jet, the leading VIP charter company in the region. Abu Dhabi Aviation operates one of the world’s largest civil fleets of 20 AW139s and has been an AgustaWestland Service Centre since 2005. From its large and modern maintenance facilities located at Abu Dhabi International Airport, Abu Dhabi Aviation is uniquely positioned to support AgustaWestland’s remarkably successful AW139 and other models. There are now nearly two hundred of these sophisticated, third-generation helicopters operating in both civil and military roles with many in the Middle East region.

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Hawker Beechcraft announced the sale and delivery of 12 aircraft to the Saudi Arabia Presidency of Meteorology and Environment (PME). Aircraft deliveries have taken place throughout the past year and are expected to conclude by the end of the year when the remaining two aircraft are delivered. The order consists of one Hawker 900XP, two Hawker 400XP, one King Air 350, two King Air B200GT and six King Air C90GTi aircraft. The aircraft will be used to support the various roles of the Saudi Arabia PME, which includes vital meteorological activities such as weather forecasting and modeling, and environmental issues including air quality assessment and protection. The new aircraft special mission instruments are being engineered and modified by Weather Modification, Inc. and the Fargo Jet Center, both located in Fargo, N.D. The maintenance service of the PME aircraft will be managed by HBC Authorized Service Center Arabian Aircraft Services Co. Ltd, also known as ARABASCO.

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With the introduction of the upcoming summer timetable, Lufthansa and Ethiopian Airlines passengers will have a choice of two more flights per week between Frankfurt and the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. From April 2010 and June 2010, respectively, Lufthansa and its codeshare partner Ethiopian Airlines will each offer one additional flight per week on this route. Passengers of both airlines will then be able to choose from a total of ten non-stop services per week, with reciprocal codesharing. The improved, jointly operated services are in response to the growing demand for air travel between East Africa, Europe, America and Asia.

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Sikorsky Black Hawk helicopters flown by the US Army in the Iraq and Afghanistan theaters of war have accumulated more than 1 million fleet flight hours without a single Class A material failure with the aircraft, Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. reported from the Dubai Air Show. The US Army currently operates more than 350 Black Hawk helicopters combined in these two Overseas Contingency Operations. Black Hawk helicopters have flown these missions since February 2003 and are maintaining an 84 percent mission capable readiness rate while operating in the extreme heat, wind, and sand conditions.

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Finmeccanica announcee that the NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency (NETMA) and Eurofighter GmbH signed a contract worth more than EUR 600 million with the Finmeccanica Group for the supply of five-year integrated support services for the Italian Air Force fleet of Eurofighter aircraft. The activities set out in the contract will be carried out by Alenia Aeronautica, in its role as prime contractor, together with SELEX Galileo and SELEX Communications and the participated company Elettronica. Alenia Aeronautica, as the sole interface with the Italian Air Force for all support activities relating to the Eurofighter aircraft, will be responsible for managing the supply and repair of all equipment on the aircraft, including avionics equipment; determining requirements and the supply of all consumables necessary to ensure the fleet good repair and efficiency; and to maintain and manage the instruments required to carry out maintenance work.

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Pratt & Whitney has delivered the first ever F100-229 Engine Enhancement Package (EEP) Engine for installation in a Republic of Korea Air Force F-15. This is the first of six EEP engines to be delivered to the ROKAF this year, in addition to the ongoing delivery of engine build kits that will be assembled by Samsung Techwin in Korea. The engine program is valued at approximately $200 million and is scheduled for delivery in 2009 and 2010.

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Germany’s second largest airline, Air Berlin Group, has signed an agreement with Lufthansa Technik AG to provide comprehensive component support for its entire fleet. Under the Total Component Support TCS contract, which has already taken effect, the Hamburg-based company will manage supply of components for Air Berlin Group’s Boeing 737’s, its Airbus A320 and A330 family aircraft and its Bombardier Q400’s. Air Berlin will receive on-site service at its Berlin and Düsseldorf hubs from a team of locally deployed experts. The airline will also have access to Lufthansa Technik’s central material warehouses in Hamburg and Frankfurt and the wide range of repair services provided by the two sites. A global express service is offered for about 2,000 different types of electronic, hydraulic, or pneumatic components in the event of “Aircraft on Ground” (AOG).

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Lufthansa Technik AG has been commissioned to install a new First Class cabin in nine Airbus A340 aircraft from the Etihad Airways long-haul fleet. These exacting cabin modifications for the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, which is headquartered in Abu Dhabi, are due to be completed by the end of 2010. An announcement to this effect was issued by the two companies at the Dubai Airshow. Having already received its first two new Airbus long-haul aircraft already fitted with the new First Class Suite, Etihad Airways has now commissioned Lufthansa Technik to perform the engineering and conversion work on its Airbus A340 fleet, which has been in service for around two years.

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In a newly released study on "The Market for Business Jet Aircraft," Forecast International predicts that a total of 11,277 business jets, worth an estimated $197 billion, will be produced in the 10-year period from 2009 through 2018.  Production is expected to total approximately 825 units in 2009, followed by 738 units in 2010, and 716 in 2011.  Annual production is projected to rise in 2012, however, and continue improving through the remainder of the forecast timeframe. Impacted by economic weakness and collapsing financial markets, the business jet industry saw several years of tremendous growth come to a sudden halt in late 2008.  New orders dwindled to near zero; scheduled deliveries were deferred, and cancellations began eating into sizable order backlogs.  In response, business jet manufacturers slashed production rates. More recently, some encouraging signs of economic improvement have appeared.  Within the business aviation world, aircraft utilization is up; the used jet market has stabilized, and cancellation rates have subsided.  All are signs of optimism, and the market appears slated to improve slowly and gradually.

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Continental Airlines announced that it will launch daily nonstop service between its New York hub at Newark Liberty International Airport and Munich, effective March 27, 2010. Flight CO106 will depart Newark Liberty daily at 5:25 p.m. and arrive in Munich at 7:50 a.m. the next day. The return flight, CO107, will depart Munich's Franz Josef Strauss International Airport daily at 9:20 a.m. and arrive at Newark Liberty at 12:35 p.m. the same day. The schedule of the Continental service complements that of Lufthansa's existing daily New York/Newark-Munich service, which departs Newark Liberty about three hours later and Munich about six hours later. The Continental flights will be operated by Boeing 767-200ER aircraft, seating 25 passengers in BusinessFirst and 149 passengers in economy class.

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Saudi Aviation Flight Academy (SAFA) has signed a fleet purchase for 20 Diamond aircraft and 12 flight training devices Diamond aircraft, in cooperation with its regional distributor AMH, has signed the agreement with SAFA. In the future pilot trainees of SAFA will conduct their flight training utilizing aircraft that excite pilots and flight schools all over the world: the Diamond DA42NG and DA40NG.As a joint venture between the Saudi Aviation Club and the Private Sector, the Saudi Aviation Flight Academy, headquartered at the Thumamah Airport, 15 miles north of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, has placed a fleet purchase for the new generation of DA42 and DA40 aircraft to equip the entire flight school. Additionally, to enhance their training effectiveness, SAFA decided to purchase five Diamond FAA Level 6 and seven FAA Level 5 flight training devices based on the Diamond aircraft and designed for basic and advanced pilot training.

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In the third quarter of 2009, Air Berlin PLC increased its net profit to EUR 95.2 million, i.e. an increase of 111 percent over the previous year's quarter. Despite a challenging economic environment, operating profit improved by 33.5 percent to EUR 118 million. Revenue decreased by 8.2 percent to EUR 974 million, due to targeted capacity adjustments based on lower demand. As Joachim Hunold, CEO of Air Berlin, stated: "Air Berlin is one of the few airline companies that was able to improve profit in the third quarter of 2009." The "Jump" efficiency improvement program introduced in 2008 and consistently adhered to in 2009 contributed significantly to the good results obtained in the third quarter. Although the number of passengers transported decreased slightly to 8.3 million (-4.1 percent) as a result of the financial and economic crisis, Air Berlin's capacity adjustments enabled the company to counter the effects of this decrease and show a good performance. This is all the more remarkable in that the third quarter results were burdened by three days of strike. Furthermore, the bomb attack on the island of Majorca in July and the discussion surrounding the swine flu temporarily dampened demand for this destination. Revenue per passenger kilometer increased from 7.65 to 8.24 Eurocents, i.e. an increase of 7.7 percent. EBITDAR (Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization and leasing expenses) for the quarter under review reached EUR 228.7 million (Q3/2008: EUR 209 million). EBIT (Earnings before interest and taxes) increased by 33.5 percent to EUR 118 million (Q3/2008: EUR 88.4 million). The financial results have been affected by proceeds from payments on a convertible bond, amounting to approximately EUR 20 million. Furthermore, foreign exchange losses were lower than in 2008. As a result, the financial results significantly improved from EUR -15 million in 2008 to EUR 3.2 million. Net profit for the third quarter of 2009 reached EUR 95.2 million (Q3/2008: EUR 45.1 million). The previous year's figures have been restated in accordance with valuation changes under IFRIC 13 ("Customer Loyalty Programmes").

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Airbus has delivered Lufthansa’s 100th A320 Family aircraft from Airbus’ Final Assembly Line in Hamburg. The aircraft, an A320, was handed over to Lufthansa.  Nico Buchholz, Lufthansa’s Head of Corporate Fleet Management said: “The acquisition and delivery of the 100th A320 Family aircraft is another milestone in our partnership with Airbus. We are continuing to benefit from the reliability, economic and ecological efficiency, as well as the passenger appeal of the A320 Family.” Airbus Chief Operating Officer - Customers, John Leahy commented: “The delivery of Lufthansa’s 100th A320 Family aircraft not only speaks for the tremendous success of the A320 programme, but also for our strong relationship with Lufthansa, one of the world’s largest Airbus operators.”

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The site of a ground station for Galileo, Europe's global navigation satellite system, inside the Guiana Space Centre (CSG), near Kourou in French Guiana, was inaugurated on 19 November. The site, which was made available by France's Centre national d'études spatiales (CNES), will play an essential role in the setting up of the Galileo system, since it will accommodate the most comprehensive of the Galileo ground segment stations. The Kourou station will consist of a telemetry, tracking and command (TT&C) station to monitor and control the Galileo constellation satellites, a sensor station (GSS) for acquisition of the satellite navigation signals, and two uplink stations (ULS) for transmission of navigation and integrity messages to the satellites.

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gategroup, the leading independent provider of onboard products and services to the world's airlines, has extended business for its Gate Gourmet brand with Swiss International Airlines for three additional years until the end of 2015. The deal covers a business spend in excess of CHF 600 million. The contract is a long-term extension of an existing agreement and includes service to the airline at Zurich, Geneva and Basel. SWISS operates approximately 20 long-haul and 200 short-haul flights daily from the three airports.

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Senegal Airlines, the new national carrier of the Republic of Senegal, which is majority owned by the Senegalese private sector, has signed a letter of intent to purchase four A320 family aircraft and two A330s. The airline, which will replace Air Senegal International, will launch services in early 2010 from its hub in Dakar to destinations in Africa and Europe.

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A Royal Air Force Flight Lieutenant has become the first pilot in the world to reach 1,000 flying hours on the Eurofighter Typhoon. Antony ‘Parky’ Parkinson, 44, landed his jet at RAF Coningsby this morning and emerged from the cockpit having just clocked up the 1001st hour during a 90 minute training flight. Greeted by colleagues from 29 (Reserve) Squadron, Parky said “it’s a special thing to be the first in the world, and that’s a historic milestone, not just for me, but for the Typhoon. It’s taken 5 years of flying to reach 1000 hours – almost exactly 5 years to the day – and it’s a privilege to be the first pilot to get it”.  Parky joined the RAF in 1983, aged just 18, and in the last 25 years he has had an amazing flying career, in which he admits he has been very lucky. “This is my fourth 1,000 hour badge – I had 1,000 on the Phantom, then with the Tornado F3 before joining the Red Arrows, and completing 1,000 hours in the Hawk.”

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Embraer signed a contract with Oman Air for the sale of five EMBRAER 175 aircraft from the E-Jets family. Four of the jets will be operated by the airline and one will serve with the Royal Omani Police. The newly ratified deal also includes purchase rights for another five aircraft. The total value of the firm order, at list price, is US$ 177.5 million, and could double if all purchase rights are converted. The first delivery is scheduled for the first quarter of 2011.

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The Director General of the Sri Lankan Telecommunications Regulatory Commission, Priyantha Kariyapperuma and Professor Sir Martin Sweeting of Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL), signed a landmark agreement today. This agreement starts a Sri Lankan national space capability by providing an SSTL Earth Observation satellite and commencing the definition and design of Sri Lanka's first communications satellite. Peter Hayes, the British High Commissioner in Sri Lanka recognised the value of the agreement, saying "This project is exciting for the development of telecommunications in Sri Lanka and will strengthen the ties between the two countries." The programme, including a training and development programme and collaborative activities between the University of Surrey and leading Sri Lankan academic institutes, will promote academic, industrial and socio-economic development. The project has been approved by the Sri Lankan government under the personal direction of His Excellency, President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

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The first Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) stealth fighter arrived Sunday at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., where it will conduct its first hovers and vertical landings. The ferry flight initiates a sequence of F-35 arrivals at Patuxent River this year and next. Piloted by Lockheed Martin F-35 Chief Test Pilot Jon Beesley, the F-35B flew from Fort Worth, Texas, to Patuxent River by way of Dobbins Air Force Base in Georgia. Beesley landed on the Patuxent runway Sunday at 12:46 p.m. EST.

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