30.03.2009
FLUG REVUE

News Update 30 March 2009News Update 30 March 2009 - News in Brief

Short stories from around the aerospace industry

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Embraer confirmed signing the Ecuadorian Air Force (FAE) for the sale of 24 Super Tucano turboprop aircraft, through a contract that was finalized last year. The tandem seat airplanes will be used on border patrol missions and for pilot training. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in late 2009. The deal with FAE includes an extensive Integrated Logistic Support (ILS) package and an advanced Training and Operation Support System (TOSS), covering not only the aircraft, but also ground support stations and a flight simulator. This is the fourth export contract signed by Embraer to supply Super Tucano aircraft to a Latin American air force.
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Virgin Blue's international airline V Australia and Delta Air Lines have negotiated and signed an Australia-U.S. interline agreement offering seamless travel on the networks of each carrier and across the trans-Pacific route. Effective immediately, the agreement allows travelers to purchase a single ticket from their Travel Agent, V Australia or Delta for travel between the U.S. and Australia on either carrier.
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The construction of the Royal Navy's two future Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers continues to gain momentum with the announcement of £80million worth of equipment sub-contracts. The latest announcement on the carriers made this morning, Monday 23 March 2009, sees several UK companies being involved in the work to deploy offensive air power in support of the full spectrum of future operations. The sub-contracts cover several aspects of the carriers including:  £57m for insulation systems by Ticon Ltd UK, based in Glasgow, sustaining some 350 jobs; £25m for communication systems by Thales UK, Crawley site, West Sussex, which will secure up to 50 jobs; and £1m for water treatment by the Ormandy Group, based in Bradford, West Yorkshire.
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The Air Transport Association of America (ATA), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, reported that passenger revenue fell 19 percent in February 2009 versus the same month in 2008 - the fourth consecutive month in which revenue has fallen from the prior year. Twelve percent fewer travelers paid 8 percent less to fly one mile on U.S. airlines, with declines extending beyond the mainland United States to transatlantic, transpacific and Latin markets. Year-over-year results were also adversely affected because February 2008 consisted of 29 days. Compounding the softening demand for travel, U.S. airlines saw cargo traffic - as measured by revenue ton miles - decline 21 percent year over year in January 2009, after back-to-back 17 percent declines in November and December 2008. Notably, transpacific cargo traffic fell 32 percent. February 2009 cargo data is not yet available. "The sharp decline in spending by passengers and shippers demonstrates how the global recession is taking an increasing toll on the traveling public, as well as on time-sensitive cargo shipments," said ATA Chief Economist John Heimlich. "The worldwide slowdown is forcing further capacity reductions, despite the meaningful drop in fuel prices."
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A Lockheed Martin-built modernized Global Positioning System Block IIR (GPS IIR-M) satellite, equipped with an innovative payload that will provide an on-orbit demonstration of a third civil signal, was successfully launched March 24 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. Designated GPS IIR-20(M), the satellite is the seventh in a line of eight GPS IIR satellites that Lockheed Martin Navigation Systems, Newtown, Pa., has modernized for its customer, the Global Positioning Systems Wing, Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif. Modernized GPS IIR satellites include several features that enhance operations and navigation signal performance for military and civilian GPS users around the globe. In addition, the IIR-20(M) spacecraft includes a new demonstration payload that will transmit a third civil signal located on the L5 frequency (1176.45MHz). The signal will comply with international radio frequency spectrum requirements.
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The NOAA-N Prime spacecraft, the final Polar Operational Environmental Satellite (POES) launched on Feb. 6, 2009, has completed a comprehensive 45-day on-orbit verification period. Lockheed Martin built NOAA-N Prime at its Space Systems Company Sunnyvale facility. The new satellite, designated NOAA-19 when it reached orbit, is the final spacecraft in the TIROS series. All have been designed and built for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) by Lockheed Martin since the first Television and Infrared Observational Satellite (TIROS) weather satellite launch in April 1960. NASA managed the spacecraft's launch and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) operates the satellite in space. Over many years of service, TIROS satellites have earned the reputation as the workhorses of the Civil Space Earth-imaging inventory.
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SELEX Galileo announced that it has been awarded a $9.2M contract from TKC Aerospace, Inc. to upgrade the Customs and Border Protection C-550 Citation Tracker Aircraft with ist Vixen 500E intercept radar and associated mission management system. This contract is for the first two radars and mission management systems, with options for additional systems to upgrade the remainder of the fleet. This success represents a further step into the US market for the SELEX Galileo E-Scan technology, following last year $32M contract extension for the next phase of the supply of the Seaspray 7500 E to the US Coast Guard for its HC-130 H fleet.
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GE Aviation has increased its ownership of Airfoil Technologies International-Singapore Pte. Ltd. (ATI-Singapore), a world-leading jet engine components repair operation, from 49 to 100 percent by purchasing Teleflex Incorporated's (Teleflex) ownership stake. By completing the acquisition, GE Aviation will enhance the repair capabilities key to its global base of airline and industrial customers. Also, the acquisition supports GE's growing Services operation, which had revenues approaching $7 billion in 2008, and expands the company's investments in Singapore, where GE operates several aerospace facilities. ATI-Singapore repairs compressor airfoils with excellent turnaround time and quality. The state-of-the-art facility was built in 1998 to service CF6 and CFM56 engines, but has expanded to include all GE commercial aviation, marine and industrial engines as well as Pratt & Whitney and Honeywell components. Located in Loyang Industrial Park, ATI-Singapore has about 535 employees who repair more than two million compressor airfoils a year.
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At a ceremony at JEC Composites, GKN Aerospace and German laser technology specialist SCLR Lasertechnik GmbH (SLCR) will sign an agreement to develop new automated laser technology that will provide improved, lower cost (potential 60% cost reduction) and swifter repair of composite structures. Phil Grainger, Senior Technical Director and Chief Technologist at GKN Aerospace comments: "As composite materials increasingly dominate the airframe, their effective and swift repair becomes ever more critical. We believe this laser technology offers an important route to solving significant cost issues surrounding efficient high quality repair. This new agreement with SLCR aims to deliver first generation equipment in just two years." The two companies are working on an automated laser process that will replace the time consuming manual grinding of the composite surface currently required to prepare for bonding new materials to form the repair. 
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Goodrich has been selected by Bombardier to design and produce the high lift actuation system for the new Bombardier CSeries family of commercial aircraft. The selection is expected to generate more than $750 million in original equipment and aftermarket revenue over 20 years. Work will be performed by Goodrich's Actuation Systems team in Wolverhampton, UK. Goodrich will provide a fully integrated high lift flap and slat system for the aircraft including actuators, power drive units, wing tip brakes, electronic control units, cockpit levers, transmission shafts and sensors. This new fully optimized design builds on the millions of high lift flight hours experience gained across a wide range of aircraft platforms, providing built-in maturity for the CSeries airliners. In addition, Goodrich will provide complete system integration optimized for the aircraft.
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Max-Viz announced the sale of six additional EVS-1500 dual field of view infrared sensor systems to the Government of Manitoba Air Services Branch of Winnipeg, Manitoba. These EVS systems are planned to be utilized in conjunction with CL-215 fire suppression bombers and spotter aircraft. Elliott Troutman (President) of Max-Viz stated, “We are pleased with the Government of Manitoba Air Services Branch's continued integration of our next generation EVS-1500 systems into their fire suppression mission. The continued enhancement to both their safety and operational effectiveness will have a dramatic positive impact on their program, and Max-Viz is proud to be a part of that continual improvement”.
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In the new summer timetable a total of 229 destinations in 70 countries around the world will be served from Munich Airport, including 49 long-haul routes, 160 continental destinations and 20 connections within Germany. For the new timetable period starting on March 29, the airlines operating at Bavaria's international hub have booked slots for a total of 241,000 take-offs and landings. These figures show that the airlines have responded to the current economic crisis by reducing the number of flights offered. The most frequently served foreign destination is London, with a total of about 4,500 departures in the coming summer season. Among German destinations, Berlin is number one with more than 4,700 flights departing from Munich for Germany's capital, followed by Düsseldorf, with nearly 4,300 departures. As of mid-May Lufthansa will be flying from Munich to New York (JFK) six times a week with its business jet. This brings the total number of weekly flights to New York offered by Lufthansa to 20. During the new timetable period Lufthansa will also be operating four weekly flights to the Israeli metropolis of Tel Aviv with an Airbus A340. Lufthansa is once again tightening its network of routes connecting Munich with European destinations, adding a new daily flight to Lviv (Lemberg) in western Ukraine and bolstering its services to Bilbao, Spain and Cluj, Romania, with a second daily flight to each of those cities. However, flights will no longer be offered to Yerevan, the capital of Armenia.
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In its new analysis entitled “The Market for Fighter/Attack/Trainer Retrofit & Modernization,” Forecast International estimates that nearly $20 billion will be spent on military aircraft upgrades during the 2009-2018 period. The United States alone is expected to earmark $9.5 billion for fighter/attack/trainer retrofit & modernization (R&M) programs, with the rest of the world kicking in another $10.3 billion. “Air forces have a need to update their existing fleets of fighter/attack/trainer aircraft to meet the challenges of 21st century warfare,” said Adam Feld, airborne R&M analyst and author of the report. “However, the economic turmoil spreading across the globe is having an effect on defense budgets, including upgrade funding.” The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have illustrated that the traditional roles of combat aircraft – to provide air superiority and destroy enemy surface assets – are of little help against an enemy with no air force, and that hides among a civilian population. To meet this new challenge, many Western nations, particularly the United States, are improving their fleet's ground support role with improved sensors and precision ground attack capability. Yet these nations remain aware that conventional warfare is not dead but only dormant, and seek to maintain their fleets' traditional capabilities as well.
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Saab and SELEX Galileo will enter co-operative development of an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) Radar for the Gripen Next Generation (NG) programme. The two companies have signed a Heads of Agreement which outlines the way forward in terms of their future working arrangements. The agreement, which is initially aimed at Brazil's Fighter programme, signifies the beginning of a long-term collaboration between the two Saab Business Units; Saab Aerosystems and Saab Microwave Systems and SELEX Galileo. Gripen NG is a considerably enhanced version of the already proven and in-service Gripen C/D multi-role fighter.
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Embraer recorded fourth quarter 2008 (4Q08) net sales of US$1,818.4 million and net sales for FY2008 of US$6,335.2 million. Net Income for 4Q08 and for the full year totaled US$111.7 million and US$388.7 million, equivalent to diluted earnings per ADS of US$0.7181 and US$2.2432, respectively. The firm order backlog on December 31, 2008, decreased 3.2%, compared to September 30, 2008, and reached US$20.9 billion, reflecting the beginning of the economic downturn initiated in September. Embraer sold 11 E-Jets during 4Q08, compared to 112 new sales for FY 2008. The E-Jet firm order backlog accumulated a total of 876 firm orders and 810 options. In 4Q08, Embraer delivered 59 jets in the Commercial Aviation, Executive Aviation, and Defense and Government segments. Total deliveries in 2008 were 204 jets, the highest for a year in the Company's history, and consistent with Embraer's delivery schedule for the year.
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Lockheed Martin has partnered with the University of Florida to develop and launch five miniature satellites to test innovative new space solutions. Building on the corporation's 50-year legacy of space exploration, Lockheed Martin will fund $450,000 of research and development projects at the university in 2009. Lockheed Martin Information Systems & Global Services and the University of Florida will use these satellites to investigate technological advances such as miniaturized, space-hardened GPS electronics and state-of-the-art intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities. Lockheed Martin will also perform payload data analysis for these satellite missions. The satellites, called CubeSats, are built in the shape of a cube, measuring 10 centimeters (less than four inches) on each side. They operate on a power output similar to a cell phone and weigh less than 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds). CubeSats can be built and launched relatively inexpensively and in a matter of months, compared to more sophisticated satellites that weigh thousands of pounds and cost millions of dollars to develop and launch.
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Pratt & Whitney's PW4000 Advantage70 engine successfully completed its first flight aboard an Air Comet A330-200 in Toulouse, France, this week. The first Advantage70 flight marks the beginning of a flight test program that will continue through early April. The first PW4000-100" engines with the Advantage70 technology upgrade, each of which deliver 70,000 pounds of thrust for the A330 aircraft family, are scheduled to enter into service in mid-2009. Advantage70 technology upgrades deliver enhanced engine performance, including a 2 percent thrust increase, a 1 percent reduction in fuel consumption, increased durability, and reduced maintenance costs. The A330-200 and A330-300 passenger aircraft will be the first to fly PW4000-100" engines with Advantage70 in mid-2009 on Air Comet and Air Caraibes respectively.
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The Royal Netherlands Air Force has expanded the scope of a three year contract with the Pratt & Whitney Belgium Engine Center to include repair of F100-PW-220 engine airseals. The three year contract signed in 2008 has an estimated value of more than $5M. The Pratt & Whitney Belgium Engine Center is a military aftermarket engine center located in Liege, Belgium, servicing the European region. Pratt & Whitney acquired the Belgium Engine Center, formerly a part of Techspace Aero, in July 2008. The new Pratt & Whitney Belgium Engine Center is a state of the art facility offering complete maintenance repair and overhaul (MRO) services for the F100-PW-100, -200, -220, and -220E, and key components of the -229 engine.
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The U.S. Army's growing fleet of UH-72A Lakota Light Utility Helicopters has passed the 10,000 flight-hour milestone, demonstrating the aircrafts' mission performance and reliability in operations throughout the United States. Fifty-eight UH-72As have been delivered by EADS North America to the U.S. Army and Army National Guard for missions including homeland security, medical evacuation, logistics and VIP flights. Current basing and operating locations for the UH-72A fleet include the Eastern Army National Guard Aviation Training Site in Fort Indiantown Gap, Pa.; Fort Eustis and Fort Belvoir, Va.; Fort Polk, La.; Fort Irwin, Calif.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Morrisville, N.C.; Pineville, La.; Tupelo, Miss.; the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., and Washington, D.C.
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In a rollout ceremony attended by government officials, armed services personnel, and employees, Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. today celebrated delivery of the 100th new production UH-60M BLACK HAWK helicopter to the U.S. Army. With a new airframe, avionics and propulsion system, the UH-60M helicopter is the latest and most modern in a series of BLACK HAWK variants that Sikorsky has been delivering to the Army without interruption since 1978.
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Aerojet, a GenCorp company, and the U.S. Air Force successfully conducted a static test of Aerojet's Technology Assessment Motor (TAM) in support of the U.S. Air Force's Integrated High Payoff Rocket Propulsion Technology (IHPRPT) Phase II program. The test was conducted at simulated altitude conditions by the Air Force Research Laboratory at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. Aerojet's TAM design incorporates numerous advanced technologies and materials to demonstrate achievement of IHPRPT Phase II performance goals for solid propulsion rocket motors. These goals focus on increasing motor performance by four percent and improving mass fraction 25 percent while at the same time providing a 25 percent reduction in hardware, operational and support costs.
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The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) procurement agency: NC3A1, awarded Thales a major contract to supply a comprehensive Air Traffic Management system. The contract includes its latest generation EUROCAT control centre, one co-mounted STAR 2000 - RSM970 Mode S radar, a precision approach radar provided by ITT Corporation, and a series of complementary Communications, Navigation and Surveillance equipment. This contract, which is already in force, will modernise NATO Kandahar air base's current Navigation Surveillance and Air Traffic Management (ATM) capabilities, ensuring a significant improvement of safety and security vital to the success of NATO civil and military operations.
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Cessna said it is fully committed to the Model 162 SkyCatcher program despite two incidents experienced during the flight test program. "The need for a modern, cost-effective two-seat trainer aircraft has never been greater, and we believe we are well positioned to meet that need," said Cessna Chairman, President and CEO Jack J. Pelton. "The SkyCatcher program is an important part of our strategy," he added. In the most recent incident on March 19, Pelton said the aircraft was undergoing a very aggressive spin test regime - power on and cross-controlled - when it entered a spin that was not immediately recoverable. This spin test was one of more than 500 flown to date using various combinations of center-of-gravity positions, power settings, flap settings and control inputs. The pilot deployed the airframe parachute in accordance with the flight test procedure and emerged from the aircraft unhurt after it touched down.
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Airbus and the Dutch Aerospace industry signed an extension to their Memorandum of Understanding for strategic cooperation in Research and Technology in place since 2005, and initiated in this framework a specific collaboration agreement on advanced thermoplastic composites. The agreement was signed by Fabrice Brégier, COO of Airbus, Hans Büthker, President of Stork Fokker AESP, Frank Meurs, Managing Director of TenCate Advanced Composites and Dirk Starink, Chairman of the Netherlands Aerospace Group. The collaboration between Airbus and the Dutch Aerospace industry on the Thermoplastic Affordable Primary Aircraft Structure (TAPAS) Project will ease further exploration of the potential of new materials, bringing together the strengths of the Dutch industry in this area with the R&T developments within Airbus. Thermoplastic composites use a resin system that can be heat-formed, welded and recycled and that gives improved in-service damage tolerance. These characteristics potentially offer major advantages in terms of manufacturing and maintenance cost reductions and increased environmental friendliness.
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Embraer delivered the first Phenom 100 jet at its Headquarters, in São José dos Campos, Brazil, to Pakistan's Air Force. The Pakistan government has acquired four of this aircraft model, which will be used to transport government officials of that country. This transaction is already included in Embraer's fourth quarter firm order backlog. “Embraer is honored to enjoy the confidence of Pakistan's Government for operating our products,” said Orlando José Ferreira Neto, Embraer Executive Vice President, Defense and Government Market. “The Phenom 100 is an excellent aircraft that meets a broad range of transportation demands and, with the way opened by the Pakistan Air Force on the international market, we are seeing a growing interest in this model in several other regions.” This is the first Embraer aircraft delivered to a customer in Pakistan, and it is also the first Phenom 100 to be operated by a government. The country's Air Force chose this model after carrying out a detailed analysis of such aspects as performance, comfort, technology, acquisition price, and operating costs, among others.
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Thales Alenia Space announced the signature of a contract with Eutelsat Communications, one of the world's leading satellite operators, to manufacture and deliver Eutelsat's W3C communications satellite. As prime contractor, Thales Alenia Space will be in charge of the design, manufacturing, test and delivery of the satellite. Eutelsat will select the launcher for the satellite separately at a later stage. Planned for a launch third quarter 2011, W3C will provide broadcast and telecommunications services over Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The W3C order follows the loss of W2M which will be replaced by W3B already one year into construction by Thales Alenia Space. W3B had the dual mission of accompanying the expansion and in-orbit redundancy of Eutelsat's 7 degrees East position and to ensuring a solution for continuity of service in the event of the loss of W2M, W2A or W7. The W3C satellite will now assure this double mission of boosting by more than 50 % available capacity at 7 degrees East, or ensuring if required Ku-band continuity for future satellite, namely W2A, W7 or W3B.
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In April 2009 AN-148 regional jet of a new generation starts regular flights, as ANTONOV ASTC and AeroSvit airline decided to enter jointly AN-148 into operation. ANTONOV will provide carrying out of regular flights on the net the airline's regional routes. D.S.Kiva, General Designer of ANTONOV ASTC, told about it during the visit of Prime-Minister of Ukraine to Aviant Kiev aviation plant. At the enterprise Y. V. Tymoshenko stated about readiness of Ukrainian Government to support the AN-148 project on the highest state level. Entering the AN-148 into operation on regional routes of Ukraine demands the government to assist to solve a number of problems as AeroSvit is an equal-rights partner of the state in the project on promotion production of the national aviation industry of Ukraine. Such projects at the initial stage are always connected with additional expenses and financial risks and AeroSvit is agreed to share these risks and expenses with the state. In particular, it is necessary to minimize or cancel navigational or airport fees at the initial period of operation of AN-148 and to provide efficient support in organization of technical operation of AN-148 in Ukrainian airports.
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The Su-35 multi-role super-maneuverable fighter made its 100th flight during which they conducted final tests of the flight control system. In February 2008 “Sukhoi Company” started Su-35 flight tests. The Su-35 fighter made its first flight at the airfield of Flight Scientific Research Institute named after Gromov in Zhukovsky near Moscow. The second aircraft took the air in October in Komsomolsk-on-Amur. For a year they finished the prototype's static tests in achieving limited modes while testing and approving the aircraft flight performance. During tests they confirmed stability characteristics, worked out the integrated control system, and other aircraft systems and navigation equipment.
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Swiss International Air Lines offers a number of innovations in its 2009 summer schedules, which come into effect on 29 March. In addition to new non-stop services to Lyon and Oslo, customers will enjoy a wide choice of vacation destinations thanks to SWISS's collaboration with Edelweiss Air. The summer timetable will also bring new codeshare services between Zurich and Malta and on the Geneva-Montreal and Geneva-Washington routes. The present non-stop Zurich-Tripoli service is withdrawn; and services between São Paulo and Santiago de Chile and to and from Singapore will now be operated by SWISS partner airlines. SWISS will serve 90 destinations in 42 countries in its 2009 summer schedules. SWISS will be offering two new European destinations from Zurich – Oslo and Lyon – in its 2009 summer schedules. Lyon will receive four daily flights operated by Avro RJ100 aircraft, while Oslo will enjoy a twice-daily service using Airbus A319 equipment. SWISS customers will also have the choice of a further daily SAS flight to and from Norway's capital under a codeshare agreement. Malta also joins the SWISS network, with a new daily codeshare service to and from Zurich operated by Air Malta. The new schedules bring innovations to SWISS services to Spain, too: the present four weekly flights on the Zurich-Valencia route will be increased to daily service from the start of the summer timetable period. SWISS will also be modifying its frequencies to and from London City Airport in response to changes in demand: between 20 April and 23 October, services on the Zurich-London City route will be reduced from nine to seven a day, while Geneva-London City services will be reduced from seven to six daily flights.
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Today, 27 March 2009, the first Austrian Boeing B767 (OE-LAE) to undergo a successful conversion to 'winglets' in the USA returned to Austria. Winglets are upturned ends on the tips of the wings of passenger aircraft which improve its aerodynamics. This leads to significantly lower fuel consumption and accordingly a reduction in costs, as well as an improved environment protection. Austrian Airlines is the first European airline to convert four aircraft from its Boeing B767 fleet to use the new technology, placing it in a pioneering position. Since Austrian Airlines agreed the conversion deadlines at an early stage, Austrian now enjoys clear competitive advantage over other carriers. Three of its aircraft will be converted as early as May 2009.
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