Saturday, June 24, 2017

Azur Air takes delivery of first Boeing 767-300ER

New German airline Azur Air has taken delivery of the first of two Boeing 767-300ERs and is preparing to start operations this month. The Düsseldorf-based carrier plans to operate leisure flights.

According to its website, Azur Air is owned by Amsterdam-based Holding NW International BV.

Leased 330-seat Boeing 767-33A(ER) (27909/591) D-AZUA will be first used for ground training and is undergoing final preparations for licensing by the German Aviation Federal Office.

First destinations from Dusseldorf will be Palma de Mallorca (Spain); Rhodos (Greece); Hurghada and Marsa Alam (Egypt); and Antalya (Turkey). From July, long-haul flights are planned to Punta Cana (Dominican Republic). Azur Air also plans flights from Berlin Schönefeld to several of these destinations.

By the end of this year, the fleet is expected to grow to three aircraft.

For the winter season, the network should also include Phuket (Thailand) and Varadero (Cuba).

(Kurt Hofmann - ATWOnline News)

El Al announces first Boeing 787 routes

El Al Israel Airlines will launch its first Boeing 787 flights in September from Tel Aviv to destinations in Europe, followed by services to North America and the Far East from October.

By 2020, the Israel flag carrier expects to operate 16 Boeing 787-9s, which are replacing its 747-400s and 767-300s, El Al said in a June 23 statement.

Rendering of 787 in El Al livery

On June 21, El Al firmed orders for two additional 787-8s and one 787-9 valued at more than $729 million at list prices, which are part of El Al’s original commitment for up to 15 787s in 2015. The airline has six unfilled orders for 787s that it will take directly from Boeing.

El Al’s 787s will offer 28 seats in premium-economy, 32 seats in business and 222 in economy class.

Tel Aviv-based El Al has selected US technology company ViaSat to provide high-speed Wi-Fi, which will be offered from 2018 onward, the airline said in a statement.

The first Dreamliner to be delivered will be a 787-9 later this summer, according to Boeing.

El Al also has lease agreements in place for seven 787s.

(Kurt Hofmann - ATWOnline News)

Norwegian to launch London-Buenos Aires route

Low-cost carrier Norwegian will launch 4X-weekly London Gatwick-Buenos Aires Ezeiza services from Feb. 14, marking the airline’s first-ever South American route.

Buenos Aires will become Norwegian’s 11th long-haul route from Gatwick as part of its continued expansion from the UK into a range of new global markets.

The LCC currently offers long-haul flights from Gatwick to nine US cities and Singapore.

Norwegian CEO Bjorn Kjos said, “From Europe, the US, Asia and now South America, our long-haul network is going global and the UK will continue to be at the heart of our ambitious plans for expansion. We also see huge potential in the Argentinian market so this is not only a major milestone as our first South American route, but also a first step toward ambitious plans for international and domestic growth in Argentina.”

The new London-Argentina route will be operated by its Norwegian UK (NUK) subsidiary, which was established in 2015 to give the airline a stronger foothold in the UK market. NUK also allows the carrier to access bilateral traffic rights to a series of new markets in Asia, Africa and South America.

NUK is headquartered at London Gatwick, and will use British-registered aircraft and Gatwick-based crew to operate the new services.

In January, Norwegian also established an Argentinian subsidiary, Norwegian Air Argentina, with plans for a considerable operation in Argentina, including domestic flights.

“Norwegian’s new direct route to Buenos Aires shows the low-cost, long-haul revolution continues to break new ground. The boom in these routes is a major factor in Gatwick, recording the second largest increase in direct connectivity of any European airport over the last five years,” Gatwick Airport CEO Stewart Wingate said.

Norwegian carries more than 5 million UK passengers each year from five UK airports, to over 50 destinations.

(Kurt Hofmann - ATWOnline News)

Boeing Crushed Airbus at the 2017 Paris Air Show

Strong sales of the 737 MAX family powered Boeing past Airbus in the sales race at last week's Paris Air Show.

The most important air show of the year is always held in Europe. Airbus operating on its home turf -- usually makes a point of outpacing its American rival Boeing in the order race. Last year, Boeing's order haul at the Farnborough Airshow was so dismal that the company felt the need to fudge the numbers in its end-of-show press release to save face.

However, Boeing didn't have any trouble selling airplanes at this week's 2017 Paris Air Show. The launch of the new 737 MAX 10 and solid demand for the Dreamliner wide-body allowed Boeing to score a clear victory over Airbus in terms of deal activity.

Firm order totals were relatively similar

Looking just at new firm orders, Boeing and Airbus were relatively evenly matched. Airbus announced firm orders for 144 aircraft at the Paris Air Show: 132 A320-family narrow-bodies and 12 wide-bodies. The vast majority of those orders came from General Electric's GECAS aircraft leasing arm, which ordered an additional 100 A320neos.

Meanwhile, Boeing announced new firm orders for 134 aircraft: 97 737s and 37 wide-bodies. Separately, Qatar Airways announced that it had firmed up an order for 20 737 MAX 8s. (It's not clear why Boeing didn't mention this deal in its press release.)

In terms of raw numbers, these firm order totals were pretty similar. However, Boeing's firm orders included a higher proportion of wide-body aircraft -- which typically cost more than twice as much as narrow-bodies like the 737 or A320 -- so the total value of these deals was considerably higher for Boeing.

Boeing racks up hundreds of commitments for the 737

Most of the deals announced by Boeing in the past week were commitments rather than firm orders. Commitments are not binding contracts, but they are usually (albeit not always) converted into firm orders sooner or later.

In total, Boeing announced commitments for 418 737 MAX aircraft at the Paris Air Show. Much of this activity was driven by the launch of Boeing's new 737 MAX 10 jet -- the largest member of its 737 family -- as well as a last-minute commitment for 125 737 MAX 8s from a "major unidentified airline customer" that was revealed on Thursday morning.

Boeing also announced commitments for 19 wide-bodies (mainly 787 Dreamliners) from four customers this week. This gave it a total of 437 commitments for the week. By contrast, Airbus logged just 182 commitments during the Paris Air Show, consisting of 174 commitments for A320-family aircraft and eight for the A330neo.

Wide-body deals were also a differentiator

Including commitments rather than just firm orders, Boeing won the pure numbers game by a wide margin: 571-326. However, winning lots of orders for narrow-bodies isn't very impressive in the current climate, because demand for these aircraft exceeds production capacity.

By contrast, Boeing and Airbus both need more wide-body orders to solidify their production plans for the next several years. Here, too, Boeing outperformed Airbus by a wide margin last week.

Boeing announced deals for 56 wide-bodies at the Paris Air Show. It started strong, signing up two aircraft leasing companies on Monday for a total of 38 Dreamliners. By the end of the week, it had announced firm orders for 33 Dreamliners along with 17 commitments. Boeing also secured a firm order for four 777-300ERs, along with a commitment for two 777 freighters.

In the meantime, Airbus only managed to drum up three relatively small widebody orders last week. Ethiopian Airlines placed a firm order for 10 more A350-900s, Hi Fly ordered two A330-200s, and Zagros Airlines placed a commitment for eight A330neos.

A comeback year for Boeing

As of the end of May, Airbus had logged just 73 new firm orders in 2017, compared to more than 200 for Boeing. Many pundits thought Airbus might even the score at the Paris Air Show. Instead, it looks set to fall further behind -- especially once Boeing starts firming up the hundreds of commitments it announced during the week.

Airbus still has a significantly larger narrow-body backlog than Boeing. But on the wide-body side -- where orders are needed more urgently -- Boeing was already well ahead of Airbus before the Paris Air Show. It increased this advantage last week, suggesting that 2017 will be a comeback year for Boeing in the long-running battle with Airbus for orders.
(Adam Levine-Weinberg - The Motley Fool)

Boeing plant where Donald Trump vowed to create jobs fires almost 200 people

The South Carolina Boeing plant where President Donald Trump spoke about saving American jobs is laying off almost 200 workers, the company says.

Boeing’s South Carolina assembly plant has notified employees that they will be off the company's payrolls from 25 August, company spokeswoman Lori Guntr told The Independent.

The layoffs are part of a larger effort to cut costs at Boeing, where intense competition with rival manufacturer Airbus has forced the company to lower prices and make savings. Orders for the company’s signature 777 jet have also slowed, with production down nearly 60 per cent from its peak.

The company told employees in December that it would resort to layoffs “as a last resort”. But they went on to announce some workers would be made redundant at their Washington plant in March, and the first-ever round of layoffs at the South Carolina plant were declared on Friday.

“We have gone through a variety of other ways of improving competitiveness at the South Carolina site, including voluntary layoffs and costs reductions,” Ms Guntr said. “...We had exhausted all of those and we still were not at the level that our business requires.”

The layoffs come just months after Mr Trump addressed crowds at the South Carolina plant and assured them he would “put our great people back to work”.

"My focus has been all about jobs. And jobs is one of the primary reasons I'm standing here today as your president," Mr. Trump said. "And I will never, ever disappoint you.”

The President campaigned heavily on creating more jobs for Americans, and has frequently touted the number of jobs he says his administration has created.

The US economy added about 600,000 jobs in the first four months of Mr Trump’s presidency, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In the four month before his election, it added about 840,000.

Last month, the Carrier manufacturing plant where Mr Trump claimed he had saved 1,100 jobs – and promised to create even more – announced it would be cutting more than 600 jobs by the end of the year.

“I am appreciative of what took place,” Carrier employee Robert James told The Daily Beast. “But there are still 500-some people who are going to be unemployed. And he bragged about saving 1,100 jobs.”

(Emily Shugerman - The Independent)

Iceland Air Boeing 757-208 (24760/281) TF-FII "Eyjafjallajokull"

My catch of the trip was this gorgeous Iceland Air 757 in lovely late afternoon sun as she arrived at Denver International Airport (DEN/KDEN) on June 17, 2017.

(Photo by Michael Carter)

Frontier Airbus A321-211(WL) (c/n 6825) N702FR "Courtney the Cougar"

My last photo of the day as the clouds broke just long enough for me to capture this lovely aircraft as she arrived at Denver International Airport (DEN/KDEN) following a brief late afternoon rain shower on June 17, 2017.

(Photo by Michael Carter)

Frontier Airbus A321-211(WL) (c/n 7536) N717FR "Luna & Lilly the Wolves"

Short final to Rwy 35L at Denver International Airport (DEN/KDEN on June 17, 2017.

(Photo by Michael Carter)

Delta Airlines Airbus A320-212 (c/n 339) N334NW

Arrives at Denver International Airport (DEN/KDEN) on June 17, 2017.

(Photo by Michael Carter)

United Express (Skywest Airlines) Embraer ERJ-175LR (c/n 17000576) N162SY

Short final to Rwy 35L at Denver International Airport (DEN/KDEN) on June 17, 2017.

(Photo by Michael Carter)

United Express (Trans States Airlines) Embraer EMB-145XR (c/n 145690) N14125

On short final to Rwy 35L at Denver International Airport (DEN/KDEN) as the dark clouds roll by following a very brief afternoon rain shower on June 17, 2017.

(Photo by Michael Carter)

United Express (GoJet Airlines) Canadair CL-600-2C10 (CRJ-701ER) (c/n 10297) N175GJ

Captured on short final to Rwy 35L at Denver International Airport (DEN/KDEN) on a stormy afternoon, June 17, 2017.

(Photos by Michael Carter)

United Express (Skywest Airlines) Canadair CL-600-2B19 (CRJ-200ER) (c/n 7742) N939SW

Arrives at Denver International Airport (DEN/KDEN) following a brief late afternoon rainstorm on June 17, 2017.

(Photo by Michael Carter)

United Airlines Boeing 737-824(WL) (28792/281) N14228

You can just make out the rainbow in the distance in the above photo.

Captured on short final to Rwy 35L at Denver International Airport (DEN/KDEN) on June 17, 2017.

(Photos by Michael Carter)

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Polish government receives first Western-made official jet

The first new jet for Poland's government officials, U.S. made Gulfstream G550, is blessed by a priest after it landed at the military airport, in Warsaw, Poland, Wednesday, June 21, 2017. Since early 1990s Poland has been planning to buy new planes for VIP's to replace Soviet made aircraft.
(Alik Keplicz - AP Photo)

The first of five Western-made jet aircraft acquired by Poland to transport Polish government officials arrived in the country on Wednesday.

A U.S.-made Gulfstream G550 (c/n 5547) N547GA tbr 0001 capable of carrying 19 people landed at the military section part of Warsaw's Frederic Chopin Airport to an official welcome and a Catholic blessing.

For over two decades, consecutive governments postponed the costly purchase of VIP planes while the Soviet-made fleet inherited from the communist era was aging and developing technical problems.

In 1999, a government plane carrying the Senate speaker made an emergency landing in the Saudi Arabian desert. There were other incidents.

Poland's Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz speaks during the welcoming ceremony of the first new jet for government officials, U.S. made Gulfstream G550, at the military airport, in Warsaw, Poland, Wednesday, June 21, 2017. Since early 1990s Poland has been planning to buy new planes for VIP's to replace Soviet made aircrafts.
(Alik Keplicz - AP Photo)

The current government decided to buy two Gulfstream G550 and three Boeing 737 jets.

The ruling party leader, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, is sensitive to air travel safety because his twin brother, President Lech Kaczynski was killed in a 2010 plane crash. The crash in Russia was not blamed on any technical issues.

Since the crash, state officials traveled by chartering regular flights of the Polish LOT airline or on military helicopters and transport planes.

(Miami Herald / Associated Press)

Bedek, Mexicana To Open 767 Conversion Site

The Bedek Aviation Group, responding to a surge in used-freighter demand, is teaming with Mexicana MRO Services to open a Boeing 767-300 conversion site in Mexico City, the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) subsidiary announced. The first aircraft, part of an order for “a number of” conversions, is expected to be inducted by July 1, Bedek said.

“We are experiencing a period of increased demand for conversion into freighters, and Bedek is up to its neck in work,” said Yosi Melamed, Bedek executive v-p and general manager. “The collaboration with Mexicana has significant business potential and is good news for both parties,” he continued, adding that such arrangements “allow us to make time for development activities and reduce the workload in Israel to provide faster and better service to our many customers.”

Mexicana, a subcontractor on the project, sent dozens of employees to IAI’s Israeli headquarters for training. IAI will retain engineering authority and overall responsibility for the conversions. 

(AINOnline Aviation News)

Bizjet Market Mimicking 'Lost Decade,' Analyst Says

Business aviation analyst Brian Foley believes that aircraft such as the Dassault Falcon 5X will lift deliveries of large-cabin business jets once they enter the market.
(Photo: Dassault Falcon)

Noting that supply has evened out with demand, business aviation market analyst Brian Foley predicts that the market for new aircraft is going to remain flat for the foreseeable future. In his recent forecast, Foley likened the current market to what he referred to as the “Lost Decade,” a period between 1986 and 1996 when business jet deliveries stagnated at about 350 units each year. “It’s going to potentially be an even a longer period than the Lost Decade,” Foley said. But the silver lining, he added, is that the deliveries will average between 650 and 750 units per year over the next few years, rising to 775 to 825 after that through 2025. This is double that of the so-called Lost Decade.

Many important economic indicators have stabilized since the downturn, including corporate profits, the stock market and even gross domestic product, Foley pointed out. Along with it, so have many industry indicators. The pre-owned market, which had reached a point where almost one in five jets was for sale during the economic crash, has now returned to normal levels. The number of business jet takeoffs and landings are coming back. But the puzzling piece is the lack of significant return of deliveries since the downturn, he said.

Foley pointed to a number of key changes in the market today. In 2008, he said, it was almost the perfect storm: credit was easy to obtain; a weak dollar made it cheaper to buy U.S. products; a number of markets were emerging; and commodity prices were soaring. “Today, it is almost a complete flip-flop,” he said. “If you are not in the U.S., you are probably seeing generally some sort of economic weakness. The dollar is a lot stronger, so buying offshore is more expensive…and commodity prices fell off a cliff.”

While corporate profits came back, Foley pointed to a “business mentality in corporations that you have to do more with less. Even though economic indicators are up, everyone is still a little bit skittish.”

Another factor is plummeting residual values. “Where’s the floor?” he asked, adding that business jets are now behaving more like a capital good. “There are more than 20,000 flying. They are not such a hard thing to come by.” Also business aviation consumers have many more options than outright purchase of aircraft, including jet cards and membership programs.

By cabin size, he forecasts that, by percentage, deliveries of larger-cabin aircraft will continue to dip below those of below small-cabin models over the next year, but will return to account for roughly 40 percent of the market as some of the newer large business jets, including the Dassault Falcon 5X, Gulfstream G500/G600 and Bombardier Global 7000, reach the market.

Once those aircraft begin entering service, the value of the business jet market, which began to fall after 2015, will begin to strengthen, Foley said. But he does not see a return to the 50 percent share the large-cabin jets held earlier this decade.

Geographically, North America, which accounts for two-thirds of the business jet fleet, will continue to dominate. But a stronger Euro and improved European stock markets are bolstering the market in Europe. The Central and South American markets, which have just a few more business jets than in Western Europe, however, are likely to remain soft for the foreseeable future, Foley predicted. “I can see that sitting out for five to 10 more years,” he said.
(Kerry Lynch - AINOnline Aviation News)

CFM International wins over $27 billion worth of engine orders at Le Bourget

CFM International, the GE Aviation/Safran Aircraft Engines joint venture, secured orders for $27.3 billion worth of engines at list prices at this week’s Paris Air Show.

Significantly, CFM won all of the order competitions for Airbus A320neo engines, with its LEAP-1A beating out rival Pratt & Whitney’s PW1100G.

“This air show has far surpassed all of our expectations,” CFM president and CEO Gaël Méheust said.

Among the highlights were LEAP-1A orders from China’s Spring Airlines (120 engines), International Airlines Group (110), GE Capital Aviation Services (200), ICBC Leasing (80), China Southern Airlines (100), Air Lease Corp. (50), China Eastern Airlines (140) and VEB Leasing (40).

(Aaron Karp - ATWOnline News)

Iran Airtour signs MOU for 45 A320neo family aircraft

Iran Airtour CEO Reza Mousavi, Airbus Commercial Aircraft EVP-Middle East & North Africa Fouad Attar and Iran Airtour chairman Majid Shekari.

Tehran-based Iran Airtour Airlines has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to purchase 45 Airbus A320neo family aircraft, Airbus said at the Paris Air Show June 22.

Variant specifics for the aircraft were not detailed in the announcement; at minimum, the planned acquisition is valued at approximately $4.5 billion.

If cleared, this will be Iran Airtour’s first order with the Toulouse-based manufacturer. Airbus said the MOU is contingent upon all necessary approvals, including those from the Office of Foreign Assets Control.

Iran Airtour presently operates a fleet of two Boeing 737-300s a 737-500 and six DC-9s. In a statement, Airbus said the airline will benefit from the new aircraft to modernize its fleet and expand its operations to domestic and international markets.

“The A320neo family … will contribute to our growth and expansion strategy,” Iran Airtour Airlines chairman Majid Shekari said. “Our success as a domestic and regional airline will be reinforced by this investment.”

(Mark Nensel - ATWOnline News)

Airbus to add combo recorders on long-range aircraft

Airbus will fit new fixed and deployable combined flight data and voice recorders as standard on long-range aircraft starting in 2019 in a bid to make it easier to find aircraft wreckage in the event of an accident over the sea.

The Toulouse-based manufacturer has teamed with commercial and military avionics specialist L3 Aviation Products and DRS Leonardo to develop the devices, which will be fitted on the A350 XWB first, beginning in late 2019, before being offered on A380s, A330s and A320LRs.

L3 Aviation will design and manufacture the lighter and more compact fixed, crash-protected cockpit voice and data recorder (CVDR), which will be able to record up to 25 hr. of voice and flight data, in line with new EASA and ICAO requirements that require an increase from the current 2 hr. of voice recording.

L3 Aviation and Airbus will integrate the automatic deployable flight recorder (ADFR), designed and manufactured by DRS Technologies Canada, part of Leonardo DRS.

The ADFR will be fitted at the rear of the aircraft and is designed to deploy automatically via a preloaded spring system in the event of water submersion or significant structural deformation of the aircraft. It can float and is aimed at long-range aircraft that fly for extended periods over water or in remote areas.

The crash-protected ADFR can also store up to 25 hr. of recorded cockpit voice and flight data. It is fitted with an emergency locator transmitter to help rescuers locate and recover it rapidly.

The plan is the result of discussions about the difficulties of locating aircraft that have crashed into the sea, following the crash of Air France flight 447, an A330, in 2009 and the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight 370, a Boeing 777, in 2014.

“We have had a few cases recently where everyone is frustrated because they just don’t know what happened,” Airbus Commercial Aircraft EVP-engineering Charles Champion said at the Paris Air Show this week. “Of course, we could think about real-time transmission of data—it will come eventually—but in the meantime, especially in very remote areas, you need to think of a hard solution in order to be able to answer all the open questions.

Airbus said two of the new fixed CVDRs will be deployed on shorter-range A320 airliners.

“This is about Airbus’s wish to go beyond the regulations to improve the chances of recovering data in the event of an accident,” Airbus product safety enhancement manager Géraldine Vallée told journalists at a pre-Paris Air Show briefing.

She added that the company has done feasibility studies into retrofitting the deployable recorder and concluded that it was technically possible but would be very expensive because of the large-scale restructuring of the aircraft’s cables that would be needed.

(Helen Massy-Beresford - Aviation Week / ATWOnline News)