Energized by the explosive growth in the Middle East air transport market, Qatar Airways has turned its attention to Scandinavia as it extends Boeing 787 services to Stockholm on August 1, to be followed a month later to both Copenhagen and Oslo.
ILFC, a wholly owned subsidiary of American International Group and one of the world’s largest aircraft lessors, preaches diversification in terms of aircraft and engine purchases, geographical distribution of its fleet and in the forms of leasing and financial programs it employs. Its Airbus A320 orders, which number 769 following additions at last month’s Paris Air Show, perhaps best reflect the company’s philosophy, notwithstanding the calculated risk it took when it signed as the A320neo’s launch customer.
Industry wisdom that civil aerospace is continuing its super-boom while defense prospects waiver was clearly confirmed in the headlines from last month’s Paris Air Show (June 17 to 23). The 50th staging of the biennial event was dominated by yet more airliner orders, plus breakthroughs in new aircraft coming to market and significant deliveries.
Until this most recent, long and painful recession, the rule of thumb followed by those who analyze the business aviation market is that aircraft sales, new and used, follow an increase in corporate profits by about 18 to 24 months. Assuming this to be true, then business aviation should already be showing healthy growth and the completion and refurbishment segment should be close behind. But it hasn’t happened yet.
A new set of FAA regulations signals the agency’s intent to make installation of an enhanced flight vision system (EFVS) far more worthwhile and less burdensome, with new capabilities such as flight to touchdown in below-minimums visibilities, dispatch to below-minimums airports for commercial operators and a framework for certification that eliminates the need for special conditions.
With President Obama’s FAA budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2014 awaiting action by Congress, 11 aviation organizations signed a joint letter to the leaders of the U.S. House and Senate Appropriations committees calling for continued funding for contract air traffic control towers.
Select executives inside the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration are pushing hard to impose user and special fees on general aviation as part of a strategy to bridge the gap between the agency’s expenditures and revenues from its traditional fees and taxes. This includes charging $1- to $2 million for air traffic control and other services at airshows. However, it appears the FAA could reap billions of dollars in cost savings simply by implementing better management and business practices.
AgustaWestland has confirmed reports that certification of the AW609 civil tiltrotor has been pushed out to 2017, a one-year delay. A company spokesman told AIN that the schedule change is the result of numerous upgrades being made to the design in terms of aerodynamics and systems, including new engines, avionics and fly-by-wire flight controls.
Tamarack Aerospace’s Cessna CitationJet equipped with active winglet technology made an unofficial distance record-breaking trip from Sandpoint, Idaho, to Westchester County Airport in White Plains, N.Y., on the night of June 4. The journey was to display the winglet-equipped CJ at the NBAA Business Aviation Regional Forum in White Plains, N.Y.
How accurate should airworthiness directives be? Before you answer that question, let me give you an example of an actual AD applicable to the Airbus A318/319/320/321 and then you can decide whether the information provided is sufficient for a mechanic to perform the required maintenance properly. I know you’re not all mechanics, but I don’t think you need to be one to see the problem.