Inadequate infrastructure, excessive government fees, legal barriers and skills shortages are the main factors holding back the growth of business aviation in Africa, according to a policy document published yesterday by the African Business Aviation Association (AfBAA).
Piper Aircraft ended 2012 with nearly $149 million in annual revenue from new aircraft sales, up more than 13 percent from the previous year. This revenue increase was the result of a 16-percent rise in deliveries last year to 158 aircraft, 22 more than in 2011. Piper delivered 93 of its top-line M-Class aircraft–including 39 Meridian turboprop singles–compared with 82 the previous year, which also helped the annual revenue mix. Meanwhile, the company named Jack Mill as vice president of engineering today.
The Aviation Home Office, a newly launched independent business aviation consultancy, is offering a range of advisory services for aircraft owners, operators and buyers to ensure reduced operational and management costs, full transparency and complete supplier accountability. It says it can act in aircraft owners’ interest by providing “independent expertise and professional services” on a fiduciary basis. As examples, the company will be able to help operators find billing errors and can assist clients in determining business aircraft values when buying or selling.
The recent completion of European certification of Rolls-Royce’s Trent XWB not only boosted Airbus’s efforts to fly its new A350XWB widebody in the first half of this year, it freed the UK-based engine maker to turn its attention to the Trent XWB-97 turbofan, designed to power the longer-range A350-1000 (the standard 84,000-pound-thrust Trent XWB powers the -800 and -900 versions).
Miami, Florida-based Aeronautical Engineers (AEI) received the world’s first supplemental type certificate (STC) from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration for the MD-80SF passenger-to-freighter conversion, the company announced last week. The STC allows for conversions of the passenger-configured MD-81, MD-82, MD-83 and MD-88, of which McDonnell Douglas built 779.
The proposed merger of American Airlines and US Airways will no doubt undergo close scrutiny by antitrust regulators and face particularly vigorous opposition from consumer advocacy groups. Even supporters concede that the effort toward creating the largest airline in the world will face obstacles.
Boeing and Abu Dhabi Autonomous Systems Investments (Adasi) signed a teaming agreement on February 18 to support Boeing unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in the UAE, and to help develop that country’s own technical capabilities. The parties signed the agreement at the International Defense Exhibition and Conference in Abu Dhabi.
The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) is planning to spread the safety recommendations contained in a government/industry rewrite of Part 23 certification rules to next month’s Helicopter Association International (HAI) convention in Las Vegas. “One of the primary focuses that we have had over the past year is to try to look at how we are regulated, and how those regulations just strangle our abilities to get safety-enhancing technologies into the cockpit,” said GAMA president and CEO Pete Bunce last week.
“Everybody talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it.” Whether Mark Twain or Dudley Warner said it remains debatable, but the point is that the same thing could be said about gray-market charters. I have been in corporate and VIP aviation for decades, and I have been hearing the legal charter operators complain about this issue for my entire career.
The Indian government has begun the process to cancel its contract with AgustaWestland (AW) for 12 AW101 VIP transport helicopters.