“When China wakes, it will shake the world.” French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte’s assessment now lies at the heart of a major polemic between the U.S. and the European Union over the EU’s proposal to lift its arms embargo on the People’s Republic of China.
News and issues concerning aerospace companies, including formations, acquisitions, mergers and financials; and announcements of significant aircraft sales, delivery statistics and personnel appointments.
Airbus and Pilatus have selected Barco’s latest glass cockpit for their respective A380 superjumbo and PC-21 training aircraft. The Belgian avionics company is also working on several air traffic control projects involving its display technology.
Air systems specialist Liebherr Aerospace Toulouse (Hall 2B Stand I6) is betting on regional jet production growth. The company counts both established and emerging regional jet players among its customers for products ranging from engine bleed air to integrated air management systems. Nevertheless, Airbus remains one of Liebherr’s major customers and the company has taken part in a recent joint equipment support initiative.
Adour Compétitivité (AC), a French association of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), is helping its members in an original way. SMEs often face strategic or organizational problems but do not have the resources necessary to solve them. From its offices in southwestern France, the Pau-based association provides experts to identify problems and find the right specialists to solve them.
The air transport industry in Europe employs about 3.1 million people, and if air traffic doubles in 15 years as expected, the sector will contribute up to 13 percent of Europe’s gross domestic product. A thriving aerospace industry is therefore a key factor in the 25-nation European Union’s “Lisbon Strategy” to become the “most competitive economy in the world.”
Tests currently under way at the Airbus UK facility in Filton are exploring technologies aimed at extending the use of advanced composite materials on the main wing of future airliners such as the A350.
The chasm separating the realm of full-size airliners and regional airplanes has claimed another victim, swallowing the Boeing 717 as surely as it did the Fokker 100 and British Aerospace 146/Avro RJ. So who, you ask, would dare tempt fate again? All signs point to Canada’s Bombardier.
As Canadian conglomerate Onex prepared for its historic buy of Boeing’s commercial subassembly plants in the midwestern U.S., 9,300 employees at Boeing sites in Wichita, Kansas, and Tulsa and McAlester, Oklahoma, understandably felt a nagging unease over their futures. But unlike so many other deals in which the buyers set out to consolidate and “rightsize” their acquisition targets, this one, at least on the surface, looks less threatening.
BAE already derives 34 percent of its revenues from North America, where 27,000 employees produce an annual turnover of $5.6 billion. Of equal significance, the return on sales is 8.4 percent–the highest figure in all of BAE. The group’s CEO, Mike Turner, is fond of reminding UK and European government officials that the conditions for technology investment are so much more favorable to BAE on the other side of the Atlantic.
The Rochester, UK facility of BAE Systems has developed the world’s first control stick that tells a pilot, through feel, that the airplane is exceeding the design envelope. The stick provides discernably greater resistance when the pilot moves it beyond the limits by the aircraft’s flight control software.