The emergence from bankruptcy of Hawker Beechcraft last week not only marked the beginning of the new Beechcraft Corp., but also signaled the end of the Hawker business jet line. Choosing to focus instead on its turboprop products, government contracts and aircraft service, the Wichita-based manufacturer has shut down all jet production and sold its remaining inventory of new and in-production Hawker 4000s and Premier IAs.
On Thursday, Finmeccanica’s board nominated Daniele Romiti as the new CEO of subsidiary AgustaWestland, replacing Bruno Spagnolini. Romiti, who was promoted from COO, has since been endorsed for the position by AgustaWestland’s own board. Spagnolini and Giuseppe Orsi, CEO of AW parent Finmeccanica, were arrested February 12 as part of an ongoing bribery investigation involving the sale of 12 AW101 VIP helicopters to the government of India.
Sandpoint, Idaho-based Quest Aircraft announced several promotions of key personnel today. Paul Duff, Jason Eddy and Steve Zinda have been promoted to vice presidents of their respective departments: supply chain; engineering and operations; and sales, marketing and customer service. Kenny Stidham, who joined Quest in April 2005 as the engineering test pilot, has also been promoted to the newly created position of director of flight operations and safety.
UK-based Bond Offshore Helicopters has won a $24 million contract with BW Offshore for transportation services to its “Limited Floating Production Storage and Offtake vessel” operated on behalf of Ithaca Energy in the Athena oil field, approximately 100 nm northeast of Aberdeen, Scotland. Operations are due to begin in March with an AgustaWestland AW139. The contract covers three years and includes options to extend the period.
The effort toward returning the Boeing 787 to service enters a new phase this week as the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration digests a formal proposal issued last Friday during what the manufacturer characterized as a productive meeting between BCA president and CEO Ray Conner and FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. Neither Boeing nor the FAA would comment on the substance of the proposal, widely believed to center on a modification of the airplane’s lithium-ion batteries meant to prevent fire from spreading from one cell to another.
The U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration have released details of the cuts they will make if mandated budget reductions from “sequestration” take effect March 1. The likelihood of Congress acting to prevent sequestration appeared to be dimming last week.
Malaysia’s AirAsia has unveiled plans to launch a new domestic airline in India by the fourth quarter of 2013. Under the terms of a deal announced on February 21, the largest low-fare carrier in Asia will hold a 49-percent stake–the maximum holding permitted by the Indian government for a foreign investor–in the new airline. AirAsia is partnering with major Indian industrial groups Tata (to carry a 30-percent stake) and Telestra Tradeplace (21 percent).
A recent research study concluded that 1 in every 60 passengers who climb aboard a regional airliner will strike his head on the cabin entryway, while 1 in every 141 will sustain some sort of head injury when he does. Regional airliner doorways are typically much shorter than those employed on larger transport-category aircraft.
The FAA is planning to reduce expenditures by approximately $600 million for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2013 should sequestration cuts take place March 1.
At a White House press conference this morning, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood laid out the likely consequences of possible automatic federal budget cuts, also called sequestration, scheduled to start on March 1, to his department and the U.S. FAA.