An order from Aviation Capital Group for fifty 737 Max 8s and ten 737 Max 9s last week lifted Boeing’s firm order total for the prospective re-engined narrowbodies to more than 1,000 and capped a solid year in which for the first time since 2002 the U.S. company outperformed Airbus in both deliveries and sales. Closed in December, the ACG contract increased the number of 737 Maxs on firm order to 1,029 and Boeing’s total firm order count for last year to 1,203.
EADS Innovation Works is reviewing options for the materials Airbus could use on an airplane to replace the A320eo in 2022. The competition between metal and composites remains intense, prompting EADS IW boss Yann Barbaux to advise against betting on a full-composite airplane, now designated the A30X.
Facing a high debt burden, unpaid bills, a depreciating rupee in its home country of India and rising fuel costs, Kingfisher Airlines saw its Air Operator Permit (AOP) expire on December 31 after the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) found the carrier had failed to furnish no-objection certificates from service providers–including airports–in its restructuring plan. Now, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has threatened to “evacuate” the assets of the airline from airports across the country.
Styling itself as “Africa’s first pan-African low-cost carrier,” Fastjet certainly looks like an airline in a hurry. Having opened its base in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, only late last November, it now plans to launch operations in Kenya, Angola and Ghana this year, starting with five Airbus A319s it aims to acquire during the first six months of its expansion and 15 within a year. It also hopes to benefit from the wreckage of South Africa’s low-cost sector with its pending acquisition of defunct 1Time Airline.
Mumbai-based Jet Airways last month announced the planned induction of five leased ATR 72-600s into its fleet. Scheduled to launch service with the first of the new 68-seat turboprops by the end of last year, Jet Airways said it expects to accept all five Gecas-sourced airplanes by the end of this March. The airline’s domestic expansion strategy centers on serving more so-called Tier II and Tier III destinations, according to Jet Airways COO Sudheer Raghavan.
SAS’s conciliation with the last of its eight main labor unions in late November allows the Scandinavian carrier to move ahead with the sale of its Wideroe regional subsidiary as part of its “4Excellence Next Generation” restructuring.
A new full flight simulator for training on the Sukhoi SSJ100 arrived for installation at the SuperJet International (SJI) Training Center in Venice, Italy, early last month. SuperJet International said it expected installation of the L-3 Communications-made simulator to take 30 days, after which it will undergo an “extensive” phase of on-site testing. The company will then apply for final approval of the EASA STD (synthetic training device) evaluation team, allowing for the start of training, potentially this month.
Latin American airline group AviancaTaca signed a firm purchase order for 15 ATR 72-600s last month and reserved options on another 15 of the new turboprops. Potentially worth $700 million, the contract calls for deliveries to start in June.
Oman confirmed a long-expected order for 12 Eurofighter Typhoons, and also decided to buy eight BAE Systems Hawk advanced jet trainers (AJTs). The contract is worth about $3.75 billion; deliveries will begin in 2017. The Typhoons will replace aging Jaguar strike aircraft in the Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO), while the Hawk AJTs will supplement or replace the RAFO’s Hawk Mk103/203s. BAE Systems will provide in-service support.
The U.S. Navy and prime contractor Northrop Grumman completed the first at-sea deck handling tests of the X-47B unmanned combat air system (UCAS) demonstrator last month. The demonstrator aircraft, one of two built for the program, performed numerous activities aboard the nuclear aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman both in port at Naval Station Norfolk, Va., and during the 15-day test phase at sea.