The latest round of economic sanctions imposed against Russia by the U.S. and European Union (EU) did not directly target the civil aerospace and air transport sectors, but they may yet inflict collateral damage on these industries. The U.S. sanctions, announced on September 12, included the Rostec defense group, which has ambitions in the civil sector, such as its planned joint venture with Canada’s Bombardier to build Q400 regional airliners in Russia.
A series of new order announcements involving no fewer than three major civil airframe makers signaled the end of a late-summer sales lull on Wednesday, as airlines went on a new buying spree reminiscent of July’s Farnborough airshow. The value of the day’s orders totaled some $7.45 billion at list prices and involved 86 airplanes ranging in size from the Embraer E175 regional jet to the Boeing 787-9 widebody.
Worsening relations between Moscow, the new regime in Kiev and the latter’s supporters in the West have prompted the Russian government to “dust off” the Ilyushin-114 turboprop. The Kremlin favors the outdated, but home-grown, design to Ukraine’s Antonov An-140, now in low-rate production at the Aviacor plant in Samara, and the Bombardier Q400, local production of which by Russian aerospace conglomerate Rostec remains under negotiation.
Indian domestic airlines have voiced opposition to a Ministry of Civil Aviation (MOCA) draft policy on regional and remote connectivity that permits nonscheduled (charter) companies to fly regular service to remote destinations under code-share arrangements with scheduled carriers. Under India’s Route Dispersal Guidelines, domestic airlines must to fly 10 percent of their capacity to identified underserved areas.
Air France pilots on September 15 launched a week-long strike, forcing the airline to cancel 52 percent of its flights. The point of contention centers on Air France’s stated plans to shift more capacity to its low-fare Transavia subsidiary, whose pilots work for significantly less pay than those of the main airline.
European regulators are increasingly concerned about the safety risks associated with integrating unmanned aerial systems (UAS) into civil airspace, and they are especially worried about the risks posed by smaller unmanned aircraft operating alongside airliners. This was the key message from the UAS 2014 conference held in London last week.
The U.S. Congress moved closer to voting on “stopgap” funding legislation that includes a controversial provision to temporarily extend the charter of the Export-Import Bank, which helps finance exports of American-made products, including airplanes and helicopters.
The U.S. Air Force expected to begin the repair process this week to return to flight the two-seat F-16Ds it grounded this summer after discovering cracks in canopy sill longerons between the front and rear pilots’ seats.
Airbus is to open a new subsidiary in Thailand that will produce flight operations data for use by its airline customers worldwide. Airbus Flight Operations Services is set to begin operations early in 2015 and initially will employ 30 people, most of whom will be recruited locally.
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 broke apart above eastern Ukraine on July 17 as the result of structural damage caused by penetration of the Boeing 777-200 by a “large number of high-energy objects,” according to a preliminary Dutch Safety Board report issued Tuesday. Furthermore, the board found no evidence of a technical fault or that any crew action caused the crash.
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