The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration is preparing to close 149 contract ATC towers serving small and regional airports beginning April 7 as part of its plan to cut costs by more than $600 million under the federal government’s “sequester” mandate. Republican lawmakers accused the White House of blocking a measure that attempted to keep open the contract towers by funding them through the end of the fiscal year.
The world’s airlines will achieve somewhat higher than expected profits this year, according to the latest projections from the International Air Transport Association (IATA). The industry group now expects its members to post a combined net post-tax profit margin of 1.6 percent this year (up from the earlier projection of 1.3 percent) on net income of $10.6 billion (up from $8.4 billion).
Operational testing and evaluation of the F-35A has begun, with the delivery of four aircraft to Nellis AFB. They were accepted by the U.S. Air Force Warfare Center in a ceremony on March 19. Eight more F-35As will join them by 2019. The Air Force has now received 24 F-35A conventional takeoff and landing aircraft. Another 34 F-35s have been delivered to the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Navy.
A celebrity pilot who advocates for general aviation and a determined senator were no match this week for the FAA’s plans to close the towers at up to 238 U.S. airports in an effort to trim costs required under the budget sequester. The FAA planned to announce a finalized closure list on Monday, but the agency delayed its release until tomorrow due to the overwhelming number of appeals to keep the towers open.
Nigeria’s Civil Aviation Authority is expected to issue new regulations governing business and private aviation that, for the first time, are separate from those covering commercial air transport. Pending introduction of the new policy, which could be issued within two or three months, the government has temporarily suspended the importation of business aircraft.
As Inmarsat prepares to launch the first Global Xpress Ka-band satellite later this year, Honeywell engineers have successfully completed the preliminary design review of satcom hardware that will be installed in aircraft. The review covered the satcom terminals and antenna subsystems that Honeywell will manufacture for commercial and business aircraft. This included “external interface control documents and fuselage- and tail-mount antenna specifications,” according to the company.
Erickson Air Crane is buying Evergreen Helicopters for $250 million, as well as Air Amazonia from Brazilian oil and gas exploration company HRT for $65 to $75 million. Both deals are expected to close in the second quarter and will boost Erickson’s current $180 million annual revenues to a projected $430 million.
Russian Helicopters delivered two Mi-171 medium-twin helicopters to Siberian operator Skol Airline. They are fitted with special lifting and transport equipment, including an on-board boom and winch able to lift loads of 330 pounds and an external hoist rated for 8,800 pounds. The new helicopters will “help Skol strengthen its position in the international air-freight market,” it said.
Dassault Falcon will host 11 regional maintenance & operations (M&O) seminars in seven countries this year. Regional seminars provide Falcon operators an opportunity to communicate directly with Dassault’s specialists, engineering teams and pilots. Dassault specialists will be on hand to demonstrate the company’s latest service products and programs, including EASy II, electronic flight bags and cabin entertainment systems.
ExecuJet Australasia has opened a new maintenance facility at Perth International Airport. The facility offers maintenance, repair and operations, technical support capabilities and charter and aircraft management services. It can accommodate mid-range/long-range aircraft and provides maintenance support for Bombardier, Gulfstream, Embraer and Beechcraft.