Welcome to Aviationfreaks Blog

Aviation Trends And News

Read our Blog

United’s Airbus order spawns visions of a different NMA


United Airlines has served notice to its US competitors, and to Boeing, that it will not put its middle-of-the-market ambitions on hold.

Its order of 50 Airbus A321XLR aircraft will go a long way toward meeting its previously stated need to replace its aging fleet of Boeing 757-200 aircraft with efficient, modern aircraft that can help it expand its intercontinental network.

United, along with other US carriers, had been waiting for Boeing to reveal details about its proposed New Mid-market Airplane (NMA), a widebody aircraft with up to 270 seats and a 4,000-5,000nm (7,400-9,300km) range.

The Chicago-based airline tells Cirium that despite the order of the fuel-efficient, single-aisle A321XLR, it does not rule out considering Boeing’s NMA, should it ever launch.

“We have been looking for Boeing 757-200 replacements for quite some time,” United says. “Boeing currently does not have an aircraft equivalent to the A321XLR to meet our specific operational needs. We will take a look at the NMA.”

While United might still be interested in Boeing’s NMA, as of 3 December the A321XLR order reduces by 50 the number of aging, gas-guzzling aircraft Boeing could potentially replace.

Boeing remains mired in its efforts to recertify its grounded 737 Max and it could miss other opportunities to replace 757s flown by other US carriers, some of which may find the appeal of middle-market aircraft too hard to resist.

“Airlines are intrigued by the possibilities of this middle market,” Teal Group analyst Richard Aboulafia tells Cirium. “It opens up so many new route options. And right now the only thing available with any certainty is the 321XLR.”

The potential of efficient middle-market aircraft to expand existing transcontinental routes and create new intercontinental routes, and the desire for US carriers to have an alternative to the A321XLR, may end up breathing new life into Boeing’s NMA – it just may not be the NMA as originally conceived.

Aboulafia, who has his doubts about the NMA at this point, says the operational and manufacturing efficiencies of a single-aisle aircraft are much greater than that of a twin-aisle like the proposed NMA. “I’m increasingly thinking Boeing needs to do a single-aisle,” he says. “But no matter what they do, all airlines will look closely at it. And there’s nothing about United’s decision to buy 50 321XLRs that rules out a secondary buy of a Boeing jet.”

United disclosed its A321XLR order – its first order of narrowbody Airbus aircraft since 2006, according to Cirium fleets data – two days before the 5 December announcement that United president Scott Kirby will succeed Oscar Munoz as chief executive. Taken together, the two significant developments could send a message to Boeing that, for new leadership at United, the Airbus order may be just the beginning of large-scale investment in middle-market aircraft.

THE MARKET FOR THE NMA

Once the 737 Max returns to service, Boeing may very well focus on competing directly with the A321XLR, but it won’t be easy, given the Airbus aircraft’s versatility.

“We all focus on the longer range of the A321XLR,” says Rob Morris, global head of consultancy at Ascend by Cirium. “But what this variant really offers is the ability to guarantee the highest payload of up to 240 seats at ranges that previously would have seen significant payload restrictions for other variants of the A321neo. In the fullness of time I expect the A321XLR to become a very significant seller and member of the A320neo family.”

Morris says the longer Boeing is unable to make a launch decision for the NMA, the more the risk to its business plan as more customers commit to A321XLR, although in the context of the 757 only Delta Air Lines operates a sizable fleet that could be replaced with the A321XLR or the NMA.

Delta Air Lines has 127 757s in its fleet, with an average age of 22.3 years, according to Cirium fleets data.

“The story is quite different for Boeing’s 767, where there are presently still almost 50 operators and more than 400 passenger aircraft still in service which could be NMA replacement targets,” says Morris. “Add on A330-200 and some growth opportunities, and there is still some market potential for the NMA.”

Echoing Aboulafia, Morris suspects “we will never see an NMA launch in the format that we presently perceive the aircraft”.

In October, FlightGlobal reported that a passenger 767-X development is part of a project to re-engine the 767 Freighter, which Boeing is examining as a cheaper, lower-risk alternative to developing the NMA, which would be a clean-sheet design powered by next-generation engines.

Airlines seeking a middle-market competitor to the A321XLR may be wondering if Boeing has the wherewithal to fight back but, right now, as Aboulafia says: “It’s good to be the A321.”


Source link

قالب وردپرس

IrAero crew let unauthorised person handle An-24 in flight

Russian federal investigators are to decide whether to pursue a criminal case against an Antonov An-24 crew after an unauthorised person was permitted to sit at the controls and handle the aircraft during a domestic flight.

The IrAero An-24RV had been operating a service from Batagay-Alyta’s Sakkyryr airport to Yakutsk on 31 August.

Russian air transport regulator Rosaviatsia says it investigated video footage of a woman seated in the first officer’s position with her hands on the control wheel.

It describes the event as a “serious incident” and, having completed its probe, states that the crew of the aircraft (RA-08824) committed a “gross violation” of civil aviation rules.

Rosaviatsia says the crew admitted to the cockpit an individual who was not connected with the operation of the aircraft, and provided this “unauthorised” person with “the ability to control the aircraft during flight”.

“The flight crew’s irresponsible attitude to their official duties jeopardised passengers on board,” adds the regulator.

It states that IrAero exercised “inadequate control” over its crews’ activities and argues that it illustrates weakness in the airline’s safety-management system.

The inquiry also found that an occupant of the aircraft did not have a ticket before the An-24 departed Sakkyryr.

Rosaviatsia says it has submitted the results of its probe to the federal Investigative Committee, in order for it to consider whether to initiate criminal proceedings against the crew.

Russia was the scene of one of air transport’s most notorious fatal accidents, involving an Aeroflot Airbus A310-300 in 1994. The crew lost control of the aircraft after allowing the daughter and son of the relief pilot to handle the control column, resulting in undetected disengagement of the autopilot.


Source link

قالب وردپرس

Hong Kong Airlines vows change after spared shutdown

Hong Kong Airlines (HKA) has vowed to get its finances back in shape and “drive consolidation” within the company, after it escaped further sanction from the territory’s authorities.

On 7 December, Hong Kong’s Air Transport Licensing Authority (ATLA) said it was satisfied the beleaguered carrier had met the new licensing requirements for its continued operations.

ATLA had earlier instructed the carrier to ensure a satisfactory cash injection and to raise and maintain its cash levels to a level stipulated by the regulator. If it failed to do, it could face being shut down.

After its latest round of meetings with the carrier, ATLA says it considers the airline to have met the requirement for cash levels and acknowledges its pledge that this will be maintained.

But it adds that it will still be monitoring HKA’s finances closely, and that the airline still needs to submit further details regarding its compliance with the conditions attached to its licence.

The carrier says in a statement responding to the authorities’ decision that it will comply with these requirements “as always”.

HKA was handed a financial lifeline earlier in the week, in the form of an urgently-drawn-up cash injection plan. No details of how much would go into the carrier, or where the money came from, have been disclosed so far.

“Funding for operation will be injected into Hong Kong Airlines by phases,” HKA says in its latest statement.

“Moving forward, we will continue to drive consolidation and strengthen our internal structure to operate more efficiently and improve our revenue,” the carrier adds.

HKA faced an uncertain future on 2 December, after Hong Kong’s authorities, including ATLA and the Civil Aviation Department, issued an ultimatum: to turn around its dire financial situation, or face being wound up by 7 December.

The carrier had been plagued by a slew of financial troubles, which led to massive network cuts and unpaid salaries. HKA has already exited the North American market, and is cutting down on frequencies to other Asian points, stating that it will be focusing on “priority routes”.


Source link

قالب وردپرس

Garuda chief dismissed for alleged smuggling onboard new A330neo

Indonesia has called for the dismissal of national airline Garuda Indonesia’s chief executive for allegedly smuggling items on an Airbus A330-900 fresh off the production line.

Speaking at a press conference on 5 December, the minister for state-owned enterprises Erick Thohir ordered the dismissal of Garuda Indonesia’s chief executive Ari Askhara, over an alleged attempt to smuggle a motorcycle into the country via the delivery of its first Airbus A330-900 in November.

Thohir did not spell out Askhara’s name but specified that the individual was the chief executive of Garuda, initials “AA”.

He explains that he received a letter from its board of commissioners, as well as a report from Garuda’s audit committee, whose report indicated that there was “additional testimony” to support claims that the motorcycle belongs to “AA.”

“The [financial] transfer process was made in Jakarta to the personal [bank] account of Garuda’s finance manager in Amsterdam. Mr “IJ” had assisted in the shipping and its processes, and in other [matters] too.”

Thohir did not specify who “IJ” was or what his role was in the carrier.

He indicates that there will be further investigations, and the smuggling attempt is likely to lead to a civil and criminal case, as it “caused losses to the country.”

Despite his order for Askhara’s dismissal, Thohir stresses that the dismissal will be done “in a procedural manner,” as the carrier is listed on the Indonesia Stock Exchange. This means that the dismissal is likely to be tabled at an extraordinary shareholder’s meeting, and Cirium data shows that Jakarta owns a 60.5% stake in Garuda.

Garuda could not be reached for comments on Askhara’s dismissal.

The order for Askhara’s dismissal comes after the head of public affairs at Indonesia’s customs and excise directorate general, Deni Surjantoro, was quoted in a 2 December CNBC Indonesia report as saying that when Garuda’s first A330-900 arrived in Jakarta on 17 November after a ferry flight from Toulouse, 18 boxes were stored on the aircraft.

Out of the 18 boxes, 15 contained used parts of a Harley Davidson motorbike, while the remaining three contained two brand new Brompton bicycles.

Garuda explained in a 3 December press release that the cargo and personal belongings transported by the A330neo was declared to the Indonesian customs authorities and was cleared by its French counterparts prior to departing France.

No issues were raised during the Indonesian custom’s inspection of the cockpit and passenger cabin, but motorcycle spare parts were later found during a baggage inspection.

The airline goes on to state that the spare parts were reported to customs officers for processing, and were intended for the personal use by one of its employees which it did not identify.


Source link

قالب وردپرس

Emirates signs for 777X simulators from CAE

Emirates has ordered two Boeing 777X full-flight simulators from flight training provider CAE, with the first expected to arrive in 2021.

The Middle Eastern carrier, the biggest customer of the 777X programme, also has options for four additional training suites.

With the sale, Emirates will be CAE’s fourth airline customer for the 777X. In 2017, it sold the first flight simulator to Lufthansa.

Qatar Airways also has three full-flight simulators on order, while an undisclosed Asian carrier has one on order.


Source link

قالب وردپرس

Tokyo Century completes acquisition of full ownership of ACG

Tokyo Century Corporation now has full ownership of aircraft lessor Aviation Capital Group (ACG), having completed the acquisition of Pacific Life Insurance’s 75.5% stake.

The acquisition was first announced in September and targeted to close this quarter. Financial terms of the deal remain undisclosed.

Tokyo Century purchased a 20% stake in Newport Beach, California-based ACG in December 2017, before increasing its shareholdings to 24.5% by injecting $200 million of additional equity into the business this March.

The Japanese company also holds a 49% stake in aircraft aftermarket service company GA Telesis.

Cirium fleets data shows that ACG has 315 aircraft in its managed portfolio and an additional 156 aircraft on order.

The lessor recently expanded into structuring aircraft finance deals, having closed transactions covering an Airbus A350-1000 for Virgin Atlantic and a Boeing 747-8F for AirBridge Cargo.


Source link

قالب وردپرس

La Compagnie among slot beneficiaries of Aigle Azur failure

Premium long-haul operator La Compagnie and carriers including Lufthansa, Wizz Air and TAP are among the beneficiaries of slots released at Paris Orly by the collapse of French airline Aigle Azur in September.

French slot co-ordinator COHOR states that four new entrant airlines – Lufthansa, Hop, Wizz and EasyJet – will collectively receive 5,110 slots.

These will cover routes to Munich, Frankfurt, Budapest, Sofia and Glasgow.

Another five incumbent carriers – La Compagnie, Corsair, Air Caraibes, Transavia and TAP Portugal – will receive a total of 4,758 slots. No associated routes have been disclosed.

While the slots are allocated for summer 2020, COHOR says airlines will be permitted to start operations during the winter 2019-20 season if they are willing to do so.

COHOR says the collapse of Aigle Azur, as well as surrender of slots by other carriers, led to the release of 12,335 slots at Paris Orly.

French authorities will hold 20% of these slots in reserve for public-obligation routes, which left a total of 9,868 slots to be split among qualifying applicants.


Source link

قالب وردپرس

Malaysia MD 530G deliveries contracted for early 2020

MD Helicopters (MDHI) expects to start deliveries of six MD 530G light scout attack helicopters to Malaysia in the first quarter of 2020.

When ordered in early 2016, plans had called for deliveries to start later that year, but MD Helicopters explains that this was delayed at the behest of Malaysian prime contractor, Destini Group.

“MDHI can confirm that the delivery dates outlined in the initial customer contract were modified by/in accordance with our Malaysian customer’s requests,” says the company.

“Our customer, the Prime Contractor (Destini Group), requested updated delivery dates and we complied. We have been performing in accordance with the contractual requirements and are committed to the full and proper execution of this contract. The currently contracted delivery date is within the first quarter of 2020.”

Asset Image

Malaysia’s former defence minister Hishamuddin Hussein accepts a model MD 530G prior to a flight at the LIMA air show in 2015.

Greg Waldron

The original prime contractor in the deal was local firm Halaman Optima. In 2017 Destini acquired a 70% stake in the company. The overall value of MD 530G contract is understood to be MYR322 million ($77 million).

The MD 530G sale occurred before the Malaysian general election in 2018, which resulted in a shock upset of then prime minister Najib Razak. Razak’s cousin, Hishamuddin Hussein, was defence minister at the time of the deal.

In late November the country’s current defence minister, Mohamad Sabu, had this to say about the MD 530G acquisition in Malaysia’s parliament: “For the 6 helicopters, we have received a report from [former auditor general] Ambrin Buang, and we are conducting internal investigations. Decisions will be made by the cabinet in the near future. If not this week, it could be next year or before the year end on a final decision on the six helicopters that we have ordered but did not arrive today, which we have paid MYR112 million, or around 35% [of the contract value].”

MD Helicopters stresses that its agreement is with Destini – not the Malaysian government.

The original sale was important for MD Helicopters; Malaysia was set to be the launch customer for the upgraded G-model. First flown in 2013, the MD 530G features a higher maximum take-off weight of 3.75t and a top speed of over 130kt (240km/h).

“Our agreement is with the Prime contractor only, not directly with the Malaysian government, and it was and continues to be executed in good faith and in accordance with all laws/rules/regulations related to direct commercial sales and US/Malaysia import/export guidelines. The Prime contractor requested updated delivery dates and we complied.”


Source link

قالب وردپرس

Hong Kong Airlines escapes further sanction for now

Hong Kong Airlines has escaped further sanction from the territory’s licensing authority, after conditions were imposed on its continued operation.

The Air Transport Licensing Authority had instructed the carrier to ensure a satisfactory cash injection and to raise and maintain its cash levels to a level stipulated by the regulator.

Hong Kong Airlines had faced the prospect of being wound up by 7 December over its financial situation.

But the licensing authority says that, following the carrier’s submission of its latest financial data, it considers the airline to have met the requirement for cash levels and acknowledges its pledge that this will be maintained.

“After reviewing all the information submitted by [the airline] in relation to the new conditions attached by [the authority]…[we have] decided not to take further actions against Hong Kong Airlines for the time being,” says a spokesman for the licensing authority.

But he cautions that the airline still needs to submit further details regarding its compliance with the conditions attached to its licence.

The authority says it has given careful consideration to factors including public interests and the policy direction of maintaining Hong Kong as an international aviation hub.

“[We will] continue to closely monitor the overall operation of Hong Kong Airlines, and will ask [the carrier] to continue to improve its operational efficiency and modify its long-term operational strategy,” it adds, warning that it will take “appropriate actions” if necessary.


Source link

قالب وردپرس

​US Navy to prototype Northrop Grumman MQ-8C with weapons

The US Navy (USN) intends to negotiate and award a contract to Bell to engineer an aft-cabin door redesign of the Northrop Grumman MQ-8C Fire Scout to accommodate potential weapon stores.

The work is intended to push forward weapon studies completed in late 2019 on the unmanned helicopter and follows structural analysis of the MQ-8C weapons sockets performed by Bell, the USN says in a sole source award notice posted online 25 November.

The MQ-8C is an unmanned version of the civilian Bell 407. Its airframe is made by Bell, but its various unmanned flight controls and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) payloads are integrated by prime manufacturer Northrop Grumman.

Asset Image

MQ-8C Fire Scout

USN

The USN declared initial operational capability for the MQ-8C in June 2019, a milestone allowing the service to start fleet operations and training. The service plans to deploy the unmanned air vehicle (UAV) aboard its littoral combat ships in FY2021.

The MQ-8C does not carry weapons but is intended to initially serve as an ISR aircraft for the USN.

The service has long talked about adding weapons to the rotorcraft. Problems storing weapons aboard littoral combat ships as well as a Department of Defense shift towards countering threats from geopolitical competitors, such as China and Russia, caused the USN to rethink the helicopter’s weapons payload, delaying the addition of munitions to the aircraft, the service has said.

The USN did not respond to a request for comment about the MQ-8C’s weapons configuration. The UAV could have a similar weapons payload to the USN’s Sikorsky MH-60 Seahawk, submarine and ship-hunting manned helicopter which carries torpedoes, Hellfire missiles and Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System rockets.

In November, the service announced it intends to add Link 16 to the unmanned helicopter, integrating the communications terminal to the rotorcraft fleet over the next five years. Link 16 would allow the MQ-8C and MH-60 to directly to share information, including targeting data, instead of having to relay communications via a littoral combat ship.

Northrop Grumman has said it plans to deliver 38 examples of the MQ-8C to the USN over the next several years.


Source link

قالب وردپرس

icon-car.pngKML-LogoFullscreen-LogoGeoJSON-LogoGeoRSS-Logo
office

loading map - please wait...

office 9.078535, 7.460747

DROP US A LINE!

Why not get in touch with us. You can use our social media links or vist us at our office.