The Australian Transport Safety Bureau continues to investigate a September 20 incident 10 miles west of Adelaide in which two Airbus A330s flew too close to one another. One aircraft was eastbound at FL390 while the other westbound at FL380. The separation loss occurred shortly after the westbound flight was cleared to climb to FL400, generating a Tcas alert in the eastbound aircraft. The controller on duty quickly cancelled the climb clearance but not before the alert was generated.
Norwegian Air Shuttle removed from long-haul service one of its two Boeing 787s over the weekend following a series of technical problems, the latest involving a hydraulic pump. Following the incident in Thailand, Norwegian flew the airplane from Bangkok back to its base in Stockholm, where a team of Boeing engineers has begun to work on it. A Norwegian spokesman would offer no time estimate for a return to service.
Prominent aviation industry figures fear that a list of priorities developed to keep the NextGen ATC modernization effort on track during a time of funding pressure and ongoing “sequestration” budget cuts in the U.S. could undermine the ambitious, two-decade effort.
The recent global financial recession notwithstanding, long-term airline traffic growth will average 4.7 percent per year, while cargo traffic grows at a slightly higher annual rate, 4.8 percent, according to the latest 20-year market forecast published by Airbus. However, the company projected a marked disparity between traffic growth in “advanced” and “emerging” markets. COO for customers John Leahy noted a divergence in gross domestic product GDP trends between the groups since 2000.
The bid by Malaysia’s AirAsia to launch a low-fare airline in India with the Tata Group has hit some unexpected turbulence as Singapore Airlines prepares to launch a joint venture with the very same investors.
Facing high costs and increased competition, Air France-KLM’s management must pick its battles. Having announced plans for up to 2,800 job cuts on September 18, the European airline this week deferred a decision on whether or not it will provide further investment to plug holes in the sieve-like balance sheet of Alitalia. It holds a 25-percent stake in the Italian carrier, and Italy’s government has indicated it would be willing to see the Franco-Dutch group increase that share to 50 percent.
Software remains the biggest risk of the F-35 program, according to U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan, the program executive officer. In a presentation at the Air Force Association (AFA) Air & Space Conference on September 17, Bogdan also discussed progress in fixing the Joint Strike Fighter’s helmet-mounted display systems (HMDS), and program costs.
Beechcraft claimed a communications first for the AT-6, its losing contender for the USAF Light Air Support (LAS) program. Meanwhile, Embraer described progress in producing the winning LAS contender, the A-29 Super Tucano.
Flight trials of the MiG-29K on the INS Vikramaditya (formerly Admiral Gorshkov) in the Barents Sea have been completed. Deliveries of the naval version of the fighter to India continue, with the carrier to follow on November 15, and the Russian Navy will soon receive its first MiG-29K.
Embraer Executive Jets said yesterday that it will announce enhancements to its current business jet portfolio, including a “new version” of its Lineage 1000 bizliner, at the NBAA Convention next month in Las Vegas. In addition, the Brazilian manufacturer’s midsize Legacy 500 will make its NBAA debut at the static display at Las Vegas Henderson Executive Airport.