Friday, June 30, 2017

Wanna Buy a Business Jet?

In a recent article on the FT website, business jet broker Colibri Aircraft says that there has never been a better time to buy an aircraft. They also say that prices are at an all-time low.

They compared the average sale prices of six different aircraft in every April between 2014 and 2017. One of the aircraft they looked at, the Citation Mustang, saw a 10% decrease in value.

But it was the top end of the market that saw the steepest declines.

Colibri also looked at the Bombardier Global XRS. In April 2014 the average asking price for a pre-owned XRS was around $31 million, but by 2017 it had fallen to around $20 million, a drop of around 34%.

Whilst this sounds like good news for buyers, for sellers of aircraft it is the opposite. The Colibri research also shows that the average time to sell an aircraft is getting longer as well.

In April 2015 and 2016 the average time of an aircraft on the market hovered around the 300 day mark. In April 2017 this was closer to 400 days.

For both buyers and sellers the lower prices and longer time on market can lead to a vicious circle.

The more choice a buyer has, the more value they want. Brokers have seen buyers expressing interest in an aircraft, only to hold back on completing a transaction because a better aircraft has come along.

For sellers, rejecting a lower offer for an aircraft can lead to months longer on the market, which in turn lowers the value of the aircraft. Sometimes even lower than the offer they originally rejected.

(Alud Davies - Corporate Jet Investor)

Future of MC-21 revolves around Russian protectionist measures

During a recent meeting with ministers held in the city of Ulyanovsk, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev paid a great deal of attention to the expansion of MC-21 sales at home. The solution he suggests is simple albeit unconventional for today’s market economies – create favorable conditions for domestic airlines to buy indigenous planes, thus nudging them towards the aircraft designed to compete with Airbus and Boeing models. Is the youngest of Irkut’s children destined to grow up in a bubble and never leave the shadow of the big league players?

The MC-21 is what’s best for Russian airlines, is a decision made not by the carriers themselves but by the higher-ups, probably years before the maiden flight took place. The recent announcement in Ulyanovsk once again shows that Russia might still be wearing Soviet-era goggles when it comes to developing its aerospace industry.

Here is how Russian protectionism works (or doesn’t). The government suggests Russian airlines part ways with their old aircraft and get a hefty discount on the brand new MC-21. The carriers oblige and expand their fleet with some homegrown airliners. This, of course, increases the demand for Russian-made aviation equipment but the demand is limited to… that’s right, Russia. So far, Russia has not made strides in competing in foreign markets, even with Iran – a relative friend – being hesitant to choose Russian planes over better-established counterparts from the US and Europe.
Good old Russian bubbles

The un-mistakenly protectionist vision of the prime minister goes in line with the import substitution industrialization (ISI) policy, which has deep roots in Russia. Such measures are adopted only by a handful of countries (mostly in Latin America), but government officials in Russia still argue that domestic production should substitute imported goods if possible as it would curb foreign dependency and boost self-sufficiency (not to mention some egos).

The growing prevalence of ISI in Russia is often claimed to be the result of several factors, including, but not limited to: price fall of one of the main exports of the country – oil, consequently, the fall of Russian ruble, economic and trade sanctions imposed by the US and EU as well as Russia’s countermeasures to the latter actions – embargo on a massive chunk of imported food product market.

One of the major sectors where Russia has already experimented with ISI is the automotive industry, which indirectly involves more than 2,000,000 workers. To this day, the industry is affected by economic incentives, started in the 2000s, such as reduced customs tariffs for raw materials and components used in the industry. These, however, should soon become a thing of the past, with Russia having to comply with WTO rulings.

Let’s not forget Russia’s ambitious plan to triple its market share in the sector of commercial aircraft production from the 1% it occupies at the moment. The domestic market, although capable of boosting production rates, will not be enough to hit the target, which is understood by the Russian government itself. The ten-year plan published by the United Aircraft Corporation (the umbrella company of Russia’s civil aerospace industry) lists the following drawbacks it faces: outdated production model, low labor efficiency and the lack of private funding. With the clock ticking and the competitors not sleeping, an over-dependence on protectionist measures might not be the best way to play this hand of poker.

The MC-21 is a narrow-body airliner produced by Irkut. The plane will come in two variants, the shortened MC-21-200 seating 132-165 passengers, and the standard MC-21-300 seating 163-211 passengers. The aircraft can be equipped with either indigenous in-development PD-14 or Canadian P&W PW1400G turbofan engines. The MC-21 aircraft are valued at $80 million at list prices.

(AeroTime News)

The Godfather of African aviation shares industry insights

Ato Girma Wake, the current Chairman of RwandAir and former CEO of Ethiopian Airlines is viewed by many, including myself, as the Godfather of African aviation, having overseen the rise of Ethiopian Airlines. Mr Wake will address the AviaDev audience this October, discussing the current state of the industry the continent and how it has changed during his 50 years of service to the industry.

JH: You are currently the Chairman of RwandAir- an ambitious and expanding airline. Five years from now,do you think RwandAir will be rivalling the big three Sub-Saharan carriers in terms of size and scale?

GW: Yes, I am the currently Chairman of RwandAir and have served in this capacity for the last five years. I have witnessed the progress RwandAir made year after year in terms of route network expansion, fleet renewal, capacity development etc., In five years time, I expect it to further expand and strengthen its market and geographical reach.

The big three Sub-Saharan carriers you referred to have been around for many years. It will be difficult for RwandAir to rival these carriers in terms of number of destinations, number of passengers, size of fleet and yearly revenue in the next five years. However, I can assure you it can rival any airline in terms of on-time departure, quality of services and standard of performance. The size and scale will be reached a bit later.

JH: You have lived and worked against the back drop of the open skies for Africa discussions. Do you think we will ever have truly open skies in Africa or is this simply wishful thinking?

GW: True, we have struggled with the concept of open skies in Africa for twenty eight long years since the idea was first floated in 1989 as Yamoussoukro Declaration. It was later changed to Yamoussoukro decision in 1999. We have seen tremendous improvement in ease of bilateral traffic rights in the last fifteen years and I am sure open skies in Africa will be fully implemented in the next five years. There could be some resistance and hurdles here and there for the short term, but the determination of our Heads of States to create One African sky will prevail. We now have the structure and the legal framework in place and we are ready for a truly Open Skies in Africa.

JH: Which airlines operating currently in Africa do you think have the potential to be the future stars of the continent and why?

GW: I would like to see all African airlines shine, but as you know life is not that fair. I believe Africa will have four or five large, long haul operators and a few regional and mid-size airlines in the next ten years. When and if the Nationality (ownership) clause is removed, consolidation will take its course which will lead to fewer, but stronger African Airlines in the long term.

Coming back to your question, forgive for my bias, but I honestly believe Ethiopian Airlines will remain one of the stars. It has a good foundation, a strong aviation academy to continue producing trained skilled manpower, it has a good maintenance facility that not only serves the airlines, but brings in revenue for the airline, an excellent route network, committed management and staff, leadership continuity,a long term vision for sustained operational excellence, a centrally located growing hub and a government that gives the airline free hand to manage its affairs. Moreover, it continues to be the most profitable airline on the continent. Consequently, I believe Ethiopian will continue to remain in the forefront as a star.

Kenya Airways, South African Airways, Egypt Air and Royal Air Maroc will also be in that league. I only hope the first three will solve their current problems. These carriers are good airlines with reasonable size fleet, route network, and traffic density. It is my belief that Kenya airways and South African Airways can easily sustain the status of Stars in Africa if they do something about their management stability and if in the case of South African Airways, the heavy arm of the state can be removed from the day to day operation of the airline. RwandAir, ASKY and Air -Ivoire are up coming stars in their areas of operation.

It is my sincere hope and desire to see one Nigerian carrier emerge as a star when the current temporary turmoil in the aviation industry in Nigeria is settled. I hope and pray it will be sooner than latter. Given the traffic volume, there is strong probability for a well managed Nigerian carrier to emerge as a star in Africa. I have not included the Indian Ocean island carriers in this category due to their the limited operational participation in the continent.

(Jon Howell - AeroTime News)

IndiGo interested in buying out Air India

There is a new name among the potential buyers of Air India. IndiGo, India’s largest low-cost carrier and 41% market share holder has expressed an official interest in buying the debt-ridden national flag carrier – but only if it is profitable.

IndiGo has written a letter to the civil aviation ministry, expressing an interest in buying Air India’s international operations as well as its profitable subsidiary – lowcost carrier Air India Express.

If the government does not agree to these terms the company is “equally interested” in buying Air India and Air India Express with all their operations.

However, IndiGo president Aditya Ghosh has said that the company is only interested if it is profitable and will bring additional value to IndiGo. Ghosh’ fear is not unreasonable, as another well-known Indian airline, Kingfisher, has gone bankrupt in 2012 after buying out an unprofitable airline in 2008.

The expressed interest in the buy-out of the national carrier signals IndiGo’s ambitions to become a world-class international airline. Although Air India, with a 14% market share, is ‘only’ the third biggest airline in the country, it has a well-established network of international flights that constitute 17% of its portfolio.

Air India is a state-owned airline, whose debt has reached $8 million. Earlier this month India’s government has suggested that the airline might be sold within the next 6 months.

Tata Sons is also considered to be among potential buyers, especially as Air India was set up as Tatas Airlines in 1932, before being made public and, finally, nationalized. However, Tata Group has not yet expressed an official interest.

(AeroTime News)

Horizon Air cutting hundreds of flights this summer due to pilot shortage

Horizon Air — the regional airline that is part of Alaska Air Group, carrying passengers on shorter flights throughout the Pacific Northwest and beyond — is cutting its flight schedule this summer because of a severe shortage of pilots for its Q400 turboprop planes.

The shortage became a crisis this past month when Horizon was forced to cancel more than 318 flights because it didn’t have enough pilots to fly all its planes.

In response, the airline is now pre-emptively canceling flights later in the summer and is weighing if it needs to pare its schedules for the rest of the year.

In an effort to reduce cancellations, it’s also sending out managers who are qualified pilots to fly the planes and offering double pay to pilots who fly extra flights.

On Thursday, Horizon Chief Executive Dave Campbell sent a memo to employees announcing that the airline is cutting multiple flights in August and is studying its fall and winter timetables “to ensure we have schedules that we can reliably operate.”

Campbell wrote that the pilot shortage, coupled with the airline’s unprecedented growth as it has added aircraft, “created a perfect storm.”

“June will go down as our ‘bump in the road’ — our moment when things got too far off track, and now, we must decide how to recover,” Campbell told employees. “We have established a war room to daily manage potential cancellations.”

About 17,000 passengers who have already booked flights between Aug. 4 and Sept. 3 that are now canceled will be automatically rebooked on Horizon or Alaska flights leaving either earlier or later that same day.

Alaska Air spokeswoman Bobbie Egan said those passengers should already have received an email informing them of the flight change.

She said Horizon has targeted cancellations for routes where the airline flies multiple times per day.

“Horizon has been strategic in making sure wherever possible that we can rebook those guests with minimal impact,” she said.

The canceled flights represent 6.2 percent of all Horizon flights in August, Egan said. As examples, she said one flight will be canceled on each of these routes:

• Seattle and Boise, now with 8 daily flights

• Seattle and Spokane, now with 15 daily flights

• Seattle and Portland, now with 26 daily flights

• Redmond and Portland, now with 5 daily flights

• Portland and Sacramento, California, now with 3 or 4 daily flights.

Horizon employs almost 3,700 people and serves 45 cities in Alaska, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah and Washington, as well as Alberta and British Columbia.

Egan said it’s been hit by a pilot shortage that “the entire regional airline industry faces.”

When Indianapolis-based regional carrier Republic Airways declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy last year, it attributed its financial troubles largely to canceled flights caused by the shortage of qualified pilots.
“Premium pay” offer

To address the problem at Horizon, Campbell said in his memo that in addition to the schedule cuts, the airline is “offering 200 percent premium pay” to pilots who fly extra flights beyond their normal schedule.

Horizon’s flight-operations team is also increasing from 19 to 34 the number of supervising pilots — known as “check airmen.” This should speed up the introduction of new pilots, who must have such a supervisor alongside them in the flight deck as they embark on flying a new aircraft type.

And the airline has boosted its recruiting staff from two to six and is working with aviation schools on recruitment, Campbell said.

The offer of double pay for the overtime flights has created a surprising conflict with the pilots union, Teamsters Local 1224.

Horizon’s management and the Teamsters agreed in April on a new contract that specifies that overtime should be paid at 150 percent, not 200 percent.

In a letter to Horizon pilots last week, the union leadership — counterintuitively — objected to the company paying more than the contract stipulates and urged the pilots not to accept what it called a “200 percent bribe” to fly extra flights.

Greg Unterseher, director of representation for Teamsters Local 1224, said in an interview that the union objects to the company unilaterally amending the terms of the contract.

It doesn’t want management paying a handsome bonus now just to get through the crisis, then taking it away later.

“It’s not going to solve the issue,” said Unterseher. “They messed up on their staffing. They still don’t have the people to fly the airplanes.”

He said one exacerbating factor for Horizon is that young pilots coming into the industry want to further their careers by flying jets rather than turboprop planes like the Q400s that make up the vast majority of Horizon’s fleet.

Unterseher said he had a positive meeting Thursday with Campbell and that “we’re trying to figure out ways to move forward.”

In an interview Thursday, Joe Sprague, Alaska Air’s senior vice president of external affairs, rejected criticism in the union letter that management has not been proactive in addressing the pilot shortage.

He said the new contract with the Teamsters includes provisions aimed squarely at increasing recruitment.
Pilot bonuses

The airline is offering hiring bonuses of up to $20,000 for Q400 pilots to join the company — $15,000 at completion of two months of training and $5,000 more after a year of service.

And starting pay has been increased from $30 an hour to $40 an hour, from the first day of training.

Sprague said an encouraging sign is that Horizon’s new-hire pilot classes — which provide training on the planes they’ll fly — are full for June and July, with 30 trainees passing through each of those months.

But he said it will take time for the new recruitment efforts included in the newly ratified pilot contract to bear fruit.

So the selective cancellations now planned are temporary, he said, “while we build the staffing back up to where we think it needs to be.”

Though Campbell’s memo makes clear that June was a bad month for cancellations and lays out the plan for August, it only glancingly addresses what’s ahead in July, a very busy holiday month.

It’s clear that cancellations will mount in the month ahead and Campbell asks employees to deal kindly with affected passengers.

“As we move into July, let’s stick to what we do best,” Campbell told employees. “Kindness to our guests and to each other will always make us shine.”

(Dominic Gates - The Seattle Times)

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Gulfstream G650 (c/n 6282) N282GA

On short final to Rwy 30 at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) as it arrives as "GLF94" from the factory at Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport (SAV/KSAV) on June 28, 2017.

(Photo by Michael Carter)

Xiamen Airlines Launches Xiamen-Los Angeles Non-Stop Service

Xiamen Airlines Boeing 787-9 (63041/512) B-1567 arrives at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX/KLAX) on June 27, 2017 on the carriers inaugural flight to the city.
(Photo by Michael Carter)

Xiamen Airlines formally launched the Xiamen-Los Angeles service, the third American route following Xiamen-Shenzhen-Seattle and Fuzhou-New York services. The opening of the route means Xiamen Airlines will operate ten flights between China's Fujian province and the US weekly, creating a convenient air bridge that strengthens economic and trade ties, and enhances cultural exchanges between the US and China.

Xiamen Airlines will operate the new route with a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. The MF829 flight departs Xiamen at 8 pm every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, and arrives in Los Angeles at 6 pm the same day. The MF830 flight departs Los Angeles at 12:15 am every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and arrives in Xiamen at 5:30 am the next day (all local times).

Los Angeles is Xiamen Airlines' fourth destination in North America. Passengers can now fly non-stop to Los Angeles, Seattle, Vancouver and New York, as well as seamlessly transit to 74 destinations in North America through the carrier's partners. Xiamen Airlines continues to expand its network of partners and numbers of transfer cities. To make the transit in Xiamen faster and more convenient, Xiamen Airlines has launched various transit services including free hotel stays, free transit lounges and luggage check through at its independently operated T3 terminal in Xiamen Airport.

Following the opening of the Xiamen-Los Angeles route, Xiamen Airlines will further accelerate its globalization efforts. The carrier plans to launch the Los Angeles-Qingdao-Xiamen service in December of this year, further expanding the network of routes serving Los Angeles.

(PR Newswire / Yahoo Business News)

Southwest Airlines Becomes the Latest Carrier to Cut Cuba Flights

Southwest Airlines is dropping its flights to two secondary cities in Cuba as demand remains underwhelming.

Late last year, U.S. airlines launched scheduled service to Cuba with great fanfare. But in the first half of 2017, one airline after another has cut flights to this new market. Frontier Airlines, Silver Airways, and Spirit Airlines have pulled out of Cuba entirely. Meanwhile, American Airlines and JetBlue Airways have implemented significant capacity cuts in Cuba.

On Wednesday morning, Southwest Airlines became the latest airline to announce cutbacks in Cuba. Its pending capacity reductions will allow American Airlines and JetBlue to consolidate their dominance on routes to Cuba's secondary cities.

More flight cuts ahead

Today, Southwest Airlines operates five daily flights to Cuba. It flies twice a day between Fort Lauderdale and Havana and once a day between Tampa and Havana. Southwest also has daily flights from Fort Lauderdale to Santa Clara and Varadero. Southwest Airlines will terminate the latter two routes after Labor Day.

This move isn't very surprising. Havana is Cuba's capital, largest city, and its economic and cultural center. As a result, the vast majority of travelers from the U.S. to Cuba want to go to Havana, particularly because U.S. regulations still prohibit pure tourism in Cuba. Demand for travel to Cuba's secondary cities has underperformed airlines' relatively modest expectations.

Year to date, regional airline Silver Airways has dropped all of its flights to nine secondary airports in Cuba. American Airlines dropped three daily flights to secondary cities. Furthermore, American and JetBlue both switched to using smaller jets in the 76-100 seat range for most of their routes to Cuba's secondary cities.

Restoring balance

Unlike American and JetBlue, Southwest Airlines doesn't have the option of "downgauging" to smaller planes. By the beginning of October, all of its planes will have either 143 seats or 175 seats. That's larger than what would be ideal for serving Cuba's smaller markets.

Additionally, Southwest has a smaller presence in South Florida than American Airlines and JetBlue. American operates a big hub in Miami with about 350 daily departures. JetBlue is a distant No. 2 in the region. It operates about 100 daily departures from Fort Lauderdale, although it plans to reach 140 daily departures within a few years.

By contrast, Southwest has just 63 daily departures from Fort Lauderdale today. This means it doesn't generate as much connecting traffic in Fort Lauderdale to support routes with less demand. As a result, its routes to Santa Clara and Varadero were not viable.

American and JetBlue will benefit

American Airlines will be the biggest beneficiary of Southwest's exit from the Santa Clara and Varadero markets. Today, it flies to both cities once a day from Miami, having cut back from twice-daily service in early 2017. Going forward, it will be the only airline flying from the U.S. to Varadero, which should give it considerable pricing power as long as the monopoly lasts.

JetBlue will also benefit from facing less competition for its Fort Lauderdale-Santa Clara flights. It will now share the market for flights to Santa Clara with American Airlines.

Even with Southwest Airlines' cutbacks, there is still no guarantee that other carriers' routes to Cuban secondary cities will become profitable. The Trump administration plans to implement tighter restrictions on travel to Cuba, which could lead to even lower travel demand. Nevertheless, Southwest's exit from the Santa Clara and Varadero markets should lead to better results for American Airlines and JetBlue Airways than would have been the case otherwise.

(Adam Levine-Weinberg - The Motley Fool)

Monday, June 26, 2017

Crystal (CrystalAir) cancels VIP air cruises on luxury Boeing 777

(Crystal Cruises)

Crystal Cruises has canceled its VIP air cruise program for the super affluent and offered refunds just weeks before its specially designed Boeing 777 is to be delivered.

The company will still accept delivery of its Crystal Skye Boeing 777-200LR on Aug. 1, but seven trips were affected by the move.

Travelers who booked on previously scheduled Crystal AirCruises journeys in 2017 and 2018 will receive a full refund, the company said. The luxury travel company said it would offer those passengers what it described as "a complimentary experience" on a Crystal ocean or river cruise in 2017 or 2018.

The canceled voyages, which were priced at up to $159,000 per person, are:

Aug. 31, 2017: Peninsula Grand Inaugural Crystal Air Cruise
Oct. 21, 2017: Around the World: Iconic Sites
Dec. 22, 2017: Holidays Around the World
March 31, 2018: Temples, Treasures & Safaris
June 1, 2018: Savoring the Winelands
Sept. 8, 2018: Exotic Adventures
Oct. 13, 2018: South Pacific Explorer

Instead, the Crystal Skye has been chartered for a 10-day, nine-night “Golden Week Holiday Air Cruise” between Friday, Sept. 29 to Sunday, Oct. 8, 2017. The inaugural tour will start from Hong Kong or Macau, depending on client interest, the travel company said.

The luxury charter will be managed by Genting Hong Kong, Crystal’s Cruise's parent company.

“The Golden Week Holiday in China is an opportune time for the launch of Crystal AirCruises in Asia,” Genting Cruise Lines President Kent Zhu said in a news release. “The itinerary will be attractive to all Asians, including three-generation families, who often travel together during this extended holiday period. The detailed itinerary will be unveiled by the end of June."

The Crystal Skye, whose luxury interior was designed by Redmond-based Greenpoint Technologies and outfitted in Moses Lake, will then be available for charters and other special interest Air Cruises following that inaugural journey, the company said.

Crystal CEO and President Edie Rodriguez said the Crystal Skye "presents incomparable luxury travel options for guests and groups who wish to explore global destinations, events and culinary delights in multiple places, flying nonstop up to 19 hours between destinations.”

(Andrew McIntosh - Puget Sound Business Journal)

ASG Completes Bell 412 Sale Between Long-term Clients

Hong Kong-based general aviation consulting company Asian Sky Group (ASG), has successfully completed the sale of a Bell 412EP helicopter from an Asian operator to a major helicopter leasing corporation.

The helicopter will be leased to and operated by another leading Asian operator for a long-term offshore oil and gas contract. All three parties in the transaction are long-term ASG clients and partners, demonstrating the unique value ASG’s participation brings to the regional sales and leasing market.

“ASG is pleased to have concluded the transaction of a Bell 412EP between long-time clients,” says ASG Managing Director, Jeffrey Lowe. “Offering extensive support in aircraft sales and acquisitions is just the beginning of any transaction, as always, support and assistance will not stop with the sale of this aircraft but continue forward.”  

About Asian Sky Group:
ASIAN SKY GROUP (ASG), headquartered in Hong Kong with offices throughout Asia, has assembled the most experienced aviation team in the Asia-Pacific region to provide a wide range of independent services for both fixed and rotary-wing aircraft. ASG also provides access to a significant customer base around the world with the help of its exclusive partners.

ASG is backed by SEACOR Holdings Inc., a publically listed US company (NYSE: “CKH”), and Avion Pacific Limited, a mainland China-based general aviation service provider with over 20 years of experience and six offices and bases throughout China.

(Asian Sky Group Press Release)

Portugal airline chief fears increasing drone near-misses

Portugal's national airline chief said Monday he is considering asking authorities to order that all drones in the country be grounded, following a series of near-misses with commercial aircraft.

If drones "keep entering airspace, we're going to call for them to be grounded," TAP Air Portugal President Fernando Pinto said.

Such an appeal could set off a worldwide movement against the devices, he told Portuguese radio TSF.

Around the world, the number of near-misses with aircraft has increased dramatically in recent years as the popularity of drones has grown.

A TAP plane with 74 passengers almost collided with a drone as it approached Lisbon airport Sunday evening, air traffic control company NAV said. The drone came to within 50 meters (165 feet) of the right wing when the aircraft was at an altitude of 900 meters (2,900 feet), according to Portuguese media.

Unlike most other principal European airports, Lisbon airport is inside the city. Planes fly low over downtown Lisbon rooftops when landing, and a loss of control could spin an aircraft into a densely-populated area

The Portuguese Air Accident Office said it was the 10th incident this year, and local reported that it was the sixth this month.

Pinto, the head of TAP, told public broadcaster RTP he was a fan of drones, but added: "Due to the irresponsible behavior of some — and I'm speaking in a European and global context — (drones) are being used very badly, in a very dangerous way, and that worries us."

By law, drones can be flown up to 120 meters (400 feet) high and must stay clear of airports.

(The Associated Press)

Southwest Airlines to Expand Via San Diego-Tampa Route

In a bid to expand further, Dallas-based low-cost carrier Southwest Airlines announced that it will launch nonstop flights connecting Tampa, Fla. and San Diego. The carrier intends to start operations on the route from Jan 8, 2018 onward. In fact, tickets are already available for the new service.

Notably, prices have been kept low in a bid to attract more and more passengers on the new flights. The new route on operation should find favor among passengers as it expands their choice of travel between the favorite tourist destinations.

We note that Southwest Airlines has been constantly looking to expand its wings. To this end, it recently commenced flight service at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG). Following this, the carrier offers a total of eight daily nonstop flights, five between CVG and Chicago Midway (MDW) and three between CVG and Baltimore/Washington International Airport (BWI).

In addition, the new flights’ customer-friendly policies are a welcome relief for travelers who have been paying high fares so far. In fact, not only Southwest Airlines but most other carriers are looking to expand courtesy their strong financial position.

According to a projection by Airlines for America (‘A4A’) – the trade organization for the leading US airlines – US carriers which include the likes of American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue Airways and Southwest Airlines are in for good times in the current summer season (Jun 1-Aug 31).

In particular, it is predicted that the summer of 2017 will be the busiest season of all times for American carriers in terms of air travel. This is because 4% more passengers are expected to fly to various destinations over the period compared with the last year (Read more: U.S. Carriers Likely to Have Busiest Summer, Says A4A).

Apart from its expansion initiatives, Southwest Airlines was also in the news when it announced a 25% hike in its quarterly dividend payout last month. Moreover, its board of directors approved a new share repurchase program worth $2 billion at its annual meeting of shareholders. In fact, the new buyback scheme will replace another $2 billion repurchase plan that was completed recently.

(Zacks Equity Research / Yahoo Business News)

Unidentified customer signs for up to 175 Max jets

Boeing has disclosed an agreement with an unidentified airline for 125 737 Max 8s.

The carrier, which it describes as a "major airline customer", has also taken purchase rights for an additional 50 aircraft, says Boeing.

It gives a list-price value of $14 billion for the 125 Max 8s, and says the agreement will be reflected on its orders and deliveries website "once finalised".

"We continue to see great demand for the 737 Max family of airplanes across all regions around the world and today's announcement is a testament to the growth of our market," states Ihssane Mounir, Boeing Commercial Airplanes' senior vice-president of global sales and marketing.

All 737 Max jets are fitted with CFM International Leap-1B engines.

(FlightGlobal News)

Emirates optimistic as demand recovers after US travel bans

Disruption caused by the recent US travel restrictions had the most damaging impact on Emirates' business since 9/11, the airline's president Tim Clark has disclosed, but demand is slowly recovering now.

Speaking in Paris during last week's air show, Clark said the airline was "affected very badly" by restrictions enforced on US-bound flights requiring personal electronic devices (PEDs) to be checked, as well as the temporary ban on travel from certain Muslim-majority countries. "Looking back, I don't know anything that hit us so bad apart from 9/11 and other bits and pieces," he says.

"But the markets are coming back to us now – we've reinstated the daily Orlando, and I'm watching every day the Bostons and the Seattles to see if we can put back the second one because the seat factors are in the low 90s," adds Clark.

The immediate impact of the disruption forced the Dubai carrier to temporarily ground 13 aircraft. Clark says about eight were immediately redeployed, largely to Africa where frequencies were restored to Abuja and Lagos.

"So at the moment I've got about five [Boeing 777s] on the ground, which we're actively looking to reactivate for things like the Hajj and Umrah [religious] charters."

He adds that there has been no impact on delivery schedules.

"It's restoring now, but taken together – the PED ban, the Muslim ban and the tonal aspects – it all had a clear effect," he says.

"We've had 31 very good years but we're going through a tough patch at the moment, actually beyond our control.

"If what happens in next three or four months [in terms of forward bookings] is as good as it looks, then we'll be ahead of perhaps where we were last year – providing we have no other traumas in the region which will affect demand."

(Max Kingsley-Jones - FlightGlobal News) 

Fourth Test Gulfstream G600 Takes Flight

The fourth Gulfstream G600 (c/n 73004) N740GD performed its first flight on June 21. It departed Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport (SAV/KSAV) on a 1 hour 18 minute flight, during which it climbed to 51,000 feet and reached Mach 0.925.
(Photo: Gulfstream Aerospace)

Gulfstream Aerospace’s fourth flight-test G600 completed its maiden flight yesterday, just six weeks after the third aircraft joined the flight-test fleet. The G600 departed Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport (SAV/KSAV) at 6:50 p.m. on a 1 hour 18 minute flight, during which it climbed to 51,000 feet/15,545 meters and reached Mach 0.925.

“To have four first flights and fly more than 570 hours in less than six months is a remarkable achievement,” said Dan Nale, Gulfstream’s senior vice president of programs, engineering and test. “The rapid maturity of this program is due to the work we did before the flying even started—the strategic planning, the research, the lab development—combined with the success we’ve had in the similar G500 program.”

Meanwhile, the fifth G600 test aircraft was recently delivered to the Savannah Completions center, where it will be outfitted with a production interior. It will be used to validate interior elements.

According to Gulfstream, the G600 is “on schedule” for FAA certification next year, with customer deliveries slated for later that year. Its G500 sibling is expected to receive FAA certification and enter service by the end of this year.

(Chad Trautvetter - AINOnline News)

Second batch of Aireon ADS-B payloads launched into orbit

Ten Iridium Communications satellites successfully launched June 25 via a SpaceX rocket, marking the second batch of Iridium NEXT satellites carrying Aireon’s Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) payloads to go into orbit.

There are now 20 Iridium NEXT satellites in orbit. The launch followed a successful Jan. 17 launch. “This launch has increased the total number of Aireon payloads in orbit to 20 with another 55 destined for space in a series of six additional launches planned for the next 12 months,” McLean, Virginia-based Aireon said in a statement. “Aireon’s technology will provide real-time, 100% global air traffic surveillance and tracking, which will for the first time bring aircraft visibility to all regions of the planet.”

Ten air navigation service providers (ANSPs) have already signed up for Aireon’s data services, which are expected to become operational next year. Aireon has achieved historic firsts during the validation testing on the initial batch of ADS-B payloads in orbit, including demonstrating aircraft surveillance over the poles. Aireon said it has received more than 1 billion aircraft position reports using the initial batch of ADS-B payloads, eight of which have been activated.

In addition to the services being provided to ANSPs, Aireon has teamed with FlightAware to offer airlines the flight tracking solution Global Beacon. Launch customer Qatar Airways will participate in a “soft launch” of Global Beacon later this year, Aireon CEO Don Thoma told reporters on a conference call last week.

“This is a journey to getting the full system up there,” Thoma said last week in anticipation of the June 25 launch. “The first launch gave us validation … Each additional launch will add to our ability to have broader capability for test and validation.”

Aireon chief technology officer and VP-engineering Vinny Capezzuto said the ADS-B payloads launched June 25 “will go through a rigorous process of testing and validating each individual payload, pushing their limits to maximize operational effectiveness.”

(Aaron Karp - ATWOnline News)

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Gulfstream G550 (c/n 5480) HS-KPI

Operated by King Power International, this lovely G550 arrives at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) following a short flight from Bob Hope-Burbank Airport (BUR/KBUR) on June 25, 2017.

(Photos by Michael Carter)

Gulfstream G650 (c/n 6251) N651GA tbr B-3278

Destined for Chinese corporation Wanda Group, this new G650 departs from and returns to Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) as it performs a pre-delivery test flight on May 16, 2017.

(Photos by Michael Carter)

Gulfstream G550 (c/n 5193) N117AL

Operated by TVPX Aircraft Solutions Inc. captured departing Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) on June 13, 2017.

(Photos by Michael Carter)

Gulfstream G550 (c/n 5283) N332MM

Captured at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) on June 20, 2017.

(Photos by Michael Carter)

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)