The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is redoubling efforts to help African airlines improve the continent’s poor accident rate. “It is no secret that the biggest gap [in airline safety performance] is in Africa,” said IATA director general Tony Tyler at the group’s international operations conference in Vienna on April 15. “Compared with a world rate of 0.20 Western-built jet hull loss accidents per million sectors in 2012, Africa’s rate was 3.71.”
International Airline Group (IAG) and British Airways have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) calling for the purchase of 18 Airbus A350-1000s along with options on another 18, Airbus announced Monday.
Boeing cleared one of the last hurdles in its campaign to return the 787 to service Friday afternoon, when the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration announced it had approved its design modifications for the airplane’s battery system. The FAA said the changes address risks at the battery cell level, the battery level and the aircraft level.
Continued weak demand for large passenger and freighter airplanes has convinced Boeing to slow production of its 747-8 from a rate of two airplanes per month to 1.75.
The company expects to deliver the first airplane built at the new rate early next year. It said it doesn’t expect to move to result in a “significant” financial impact.
Chasing the Polish requirement for up to 70 new multirole helicopters to replace aging Mil Mi-8/17s, Eurocopter announced that it will create an assembly line for the EC725 Caracel in that country. Turbomeca simultaneously announced that it will produce the helicopter’s Makila 2 turboshaft engines in Poland.
At the Latin American Aerospace and Defense (LAAD) Show, Embraer announced a new customer for the EMB-314 Super Tucano. The Senegalese Air Force signed a contract for three aircraft and in-country training of pilots and mechanics by Embraer. Senegal will use the aircraft for border surveillance and internal security. The deal takes the number of the type ordered to 210.
The fatal crash of an Su-27UBK fighter trainer of the China’s People Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) in late March has called attention to the lack of advanced jet trainers for pilots of China’s third-generation fighters, the Su-27, J-10 and J-11. But although the L-15 has been under development by Nanchang-based Hongdu Aviation Industry Group (HAIG), there is no confirmation from within China that the PLAAF has placed a substantial production order.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) recorded its lowest accident rate in 36 years in the year ending March 31. The introduction of upgraded Western aircraft; quality audits of maintenance practices; increased use of simulators; and voluntary reporting of unsafe acts have contributed to the improved record, a senior official said at a recent media briefing.
Textron, parent company of Cessna Aircraft, held its first-quarter 2013 earnings call yesterday, and the news was not particularly uplifting for its Wichita-based business segment. Customers in the light jet market, who tend to be small business owners, continue to defer purchase decisions, “reflecting continued concerns about their financial outlook,” said Textron chairman and CEO Scott Donnelly. As a result, he continued, Cessna delivered 32 new jets in the first quarter, six fewer than the same quarter last year, “resulting in a segment loss in the quarter of $8 million.”
The number of Eurocopters based in China for both civil and parapublic operators has now reached the 100-aircraft mark. According to Eurocopter, the milestone helicopter–an EC120 light single–was recently delivered to an investor group that will provide “tailored solutions to support the development of helicopter flying clubs.” The company sold 16 turbine helicopters to Chinese commercial and parapublic operators last year, a 54-percent year-over-year increase. It claims a 40-percent share of the market for helicopters in China.