The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) could, by year-end, publish proposals to clarify and simplify approval procedures covering design and production of some non-critical parts by companies other than original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). Such parts manufacture approval (PMA) processes could increase competition in a market that provides North American carriers access to thousands of less-expensive replacement parts.
AIN Air Transport Perspective
The aerospace industry has been more resilient than expected to the impact of the financial crisis and, as a consequence, the long-anticipated steep downturn in airliner output has not materialized and probably will not materialize. This was the uncharacterically bullish perspective of GKN Aerospace CEO Marcus Bryson, who since 2008 has been warning of a decline in output and income and bracing the aerostructures maker for impact.
The single-aisle product strategy revealed this month by Airbus marks the first public move in what promises to be a fascinating duel with Boeing to provide new designs to replace many thousands of 150-seat, single-aisle airliners. But do not look for new production lines any time soon.
Hopes of ever finding the flight data recorders from Air France Flight 447, the Airbus A330 airliner that crashed into the Atlantic Ocean on June 1, 2009, while en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, are once again fading after a failed attempt to refocus the search efforts.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has estimated that airlines lost $1.7 billion in revenue during the six days the eruption of a volcano on Iceland spewed ash across the continent, completely closing airspace in the UK and severely disrupting operations throughout the northern part of Europe.
It appears United Airlines' public flirtation with US Airways might have generated the desired effect, as Continental Airlines has finally agreed to merge with UAL two years after Continental spurned United's last proposal to wed. The $3.2 billion merger would result in the biggest airline in the world and leave the U.S. with three major international carriers: the new United, Delta and American Airlines.
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner factory in Everett, Wash., continues to bustle as the company allows partners extra time to complete work on fuselage sections for the 23rd and 24th airplanes. During the last week of April, Boeing adjusted its schedule by 24 manufacturing days and asked suppliers to refrain from sending incomplete components to Everett for the two Dreamliners.
Airbus appears to have exhausted all its A350XWB development “buffer,” leaving designers and engineers with little margin for error as the company prepares the first A350-900 for its first flight and the model's delivery to launch customer Qatar Airways in mid-2013.
In a bid to bolster the market for alternative fuels, two of the world's largest consumers of jet-A have formed a strategic alliance: the U.S. Air Transport Association and the U.S. Department of Defense. According to ATA president James May, environmental considerations and rising prices for petroleum-based fuel motivated the agreement signed last month.
The weeks preceding the unforeseen losses caused by Europe's volcanic ash crisis saw improved trading conditions across much of the airline sector and, in its wake, revived momentum for long-anticipated consolidation between carriers on both sides of the Atlantic.