Viking Air’s updated Series 400 Twin Otter made its first flight on October 1, and the program remains on schedule for first delivery in the middle of next year. The Twin Otter Series 400 is powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-34s, flat-rated to the same takeoff power as the Series 300’s PT6A-27s. Avionics are Honeywell’s Primus Apex system.
Aviation International News » November 2008
The 350i is a new version of the King Air 350 with Serenity System interior soundproofing, LED lighting, electrochromic window darkening and Rockwell Collins Venue cabin entertainment/management system. The $6.526 million King Air 350i is scheduled for FAA certification and entry into service in the third quarter next year.
Hawker Beechcraft announced the upgraded Hawker 450XP, featuring new engines, fadec-controlled Pratt & Whitney Canada PW535Ds that are 10 percent more fuel efficient than the 400XP’s JT15Ds and offer a 5,000-hour TBO. Avionics are Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21, and the cabin features Rockwell’s Venue entertainment/management system.
Gulfstream officially launched the new super-midsize G250 at the NBAA Convention. The $24 million G250 will succeed the G200 when it enters service in 2011.
Diamond D-Jet S/N 003 made its first flight on October 5 with the upgraded Williams International FJ33-5A engine. S/N 003 is now in the final configuration for certification, with the new engine, new engine inlets and fairings, aerodynamic changes and production winglets. The new engine will be derated to match the power output of the previous FJ33-15, but Diamond plans to offer a higher-thrust D-Jet later in the program.
The 2008-09 European regional airline of the year is Aegean Airlines of Greece, which has won the award for the second time. COO Antonis Simigdalas (second from left) insisted that his senior management team be present at last month’s European Regions Airline Association general assembly in Manchester (UK) to accept the award. Ireland’s CityJet and Norwegian operator Widerøe placed second and third, respectively.
Regional operators in Europe are seeing slightly higher loads as they fly marginally longer sectors, according to the latest figures from the European Regions Airline Association (ERA). Comparing the first six months of this year with the same period last year, ERA noted that regionals traffic (passenger-miles) grew by 6 percent and capacity (available seat-miles) increased by 5.6 percent, for a small gain in passenger load factor (PLF).
“Rumors of our death are greatly exaggerated,” according to European Regions Airline Association (ERA) director-general Mike Ambrose. However, the industry is facing major obvious challenges, including “high fuel prices, worldwide economic crisis, loss of consumer confidence, falling traffic and severely reduced prospects for growth and profitability even in traditionally strong markets.”
Dornier Seaplane brought its all-composite twin-turboprop Seastar to the static display at last month’s NBAA Convention. The Seastar is already FAA and EASA certified, but Dornier will need another $150 million of funding to start production, now planned for late 2010. Two Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6-135A engines are mounted fore-and-aft (“push-me-pull-you”) on top of the wing.
Despite its name, Luxembourg-based Jetfly is a fractional ownership aircraft program that uses single-engine turboprops exclusively. This year it has continued