Innovation at AgustaWestland, according to Robert Farnese, company market positioning and promotion manager, comprises two elements. “First, you need to have an idea that works,” he told a Paris Air Show audience on Tuesday. “Second, you have to execute that idea.” He then added a caveat: “You must also master the present and have a vision for the future.”
GE Aviation’s aerostructures division has started building a 97,000-sq-ft composites factory at Hamble in the UK. The work is part of a $50 million investment at the site to support its role in making wing components for the new Airbus A350 XWB airliner and is due to be completed in early 2015.
Airliner orders have kept flowing at the Paris Air Show, with a flurry of late orders from Wednesday and throughout Thursday morning. Airbus was again the main beneficiary as leasing group Hong Kong Aviation Capital ordered 40 A320neos and 20 A321neos in a deal worth $6.4 billion. United Airlines ordered 10 A350-1000s and upgraded 25 -900 options to firm purchases of the larger -1000 in a $4.4 billion contract.
Alenia Aermacchi and Italy’s Ministry of Defense signed an agreement at the Paris Air Show to jointly define specifications and collaborate on the development of a new “basic-advanced” jet trainer, the M-345 HET (high efficiency trainer). The new trainer would be a further development of the company’s M-311 design, aimed at entering service between 2017 and 2020.
Airbus has chosen the ACSS T3CAS traffic management computer as the standard surveillance avionics suite for the Airbus single-aisle narrowbody family of aircraft (A318, A319, A320 and A321). T3CAS combines–in a single LRU–key surveillance avionics, including traffic alert and collision avoidance system (Tcas), terrain awareness warning system (Taws), Mode S transponder with automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) OUT and also ADS-B IN functions (airborne traffic situation awareness). T3CAS is also available on the A330, according to ACSS (Chalet A306).
Not all the big order announcements at this year’s Paris Air Show came from the big OEMs, as Viking Air illustrated by announcing the two significant sales: Four Twin Otter Series 400s to Aerostar Leasing; and an additional seven to Russia’s Vityaz Avia.
The Sikorsky UH-60 Blackhawk conjures visions of combat troops, pilots wearing night-vision goggles and bare-bones, utility cabins. Rarely does one find executives flying in a Blackhawk.
But earlier this year Sabreliner, with locations in Perryville, Ste. Genevieve and St. Mary, Missouri, delivered two highly-modified UH-60M Blackhawk helicopters to the Royal Jordanian Air Force. The helicopters feature Sabreliner-developed executive entry systems, VIP seating and cabin entertainment systems.
Russian aviation executives said the Irkut-led MC-21 narrowbody airliner development program is proceeding according to schedule. At a Paris Air Show briefing on Tuesday, program officials said the design is frozen on the first aircraft in the series, the MC-21-300, and parts manufacturing has started.
Nick Leontidis, a 25-year veteran at CAE, took over the reins as group president of civil simulation products, training and services on June 6 and got busy that same day, when CAE announced it had sold six full-flight simulators. Three go to Azal (Azerbaijan Airlines) and three more to Turkish Airlines. Azal bought simulators for the Embraer 190 E-Jet, and for the Sikorsky S-92 and AgustaWestland AW139 helicopters. The Turkish Airlines purchases were for the Boeing 737NG, Airbus A320 and A330.
Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker is upbeat on the market, having ordered nine Boeing 777-300ERs, valued at $2.8 billion (at list prices), of which seven are options. “When we say options, we always make them firm orders,” he said. “Options [simply] give us the flexibility of moving up delivery dates.”
Al Baker said the new aircraft would allow the airline to open new long-haul routes to the U.S. Two of the new jets will be delivered in early 2014.