The first production iteration of the Bombardier Learjet 75 will make its debut next week at EBACE, one year after the company announced the Learjet 70 and 75–upgraded versions of the Learjet 40 and 45, respectively–at EBACE 2012. “This debut of the Learjet 75 marks another exciting year of innovation and we look forward to delivering the first one in the fourth quarter,” said Bombardier Business Aircraft president Steve Ridolfi. The Canadian aircraft manufacturer will also have a Challenger 300, Challenger 605 and Global 6000 on display alongside the new Learjet.
Sikorsky Aircraft’s new S-76D helicopter received certification from Mexico’s civil aviation authority, the Direccion General de Aeronautica Civil (DGAC), this week. The FAA gave its blessing for the S-76D in October, and the helicopter continues its envelope expansion as the first models move through final modifications for customer deliveries this year.
The Middle East Business Aviation Association is hosting the inaugural Middle East Business Aviation Conference in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on June 4. The conference, to be held under the patronage of Saudi Arabia General Authority of Civil Aviation president H.H. Prince Fahd bin Abdulla bin Muhammad, will gather prominent leaders of the region’s aviation sector to discuss the issues affecting the Kingdom’s business aviation market. Business aviation in Saudi Arabia is quickly growing and is one the segment’s biggest markets among the six states in the Gulf Cooperation Council.
Chapman Freeborn is launching a new initiative designed to help business jet flight schedulers tap into Chapman’s local knowledge and expertise when flying into unfamiliar or challenging territory. Under a program it calls Global Broker, the company is offering its expertise in business jet support services, overflight permitting, ground handling, fueling and passport and immigration services to fellow charter brokers, operators and others.
The Department of Transportation’s Office of the Inspector General (IG) released a report last week on FAA efforts to assume a more risk-based approach in overseeing nearly 4,800 repair stations used around the world by U.S. air carriers. “While the FAA developed a risk assessment process to aid repair station inspectors in identifying areas of greatest concern,” the report said, “its oversight continues to emphasize completing mandatory inspections instead of targeting resources where they are needed based on risk.”
Last summer the FAA demanded American Airlines pay $162.4 million for a number of maintenance violations at both American and its regional affiliate, American Eagle. On Thursday, the agency agreed to settle with American for $24.9 million to wipe the slate clean, based on the efforts the airline made to resolve the outstanding maintenance issues.
Airlines are benefitting from growing capital market support for new aircraft financing, with this source of funding expected to account for as much as 15 percent of all transactions this year, according to Boeing Capital. A few years ago, capital markets accounted for barely 2 to 3 percent of aircraft financing.
Struggling Scandinavian flag carrier SAS has signed an agreement to sell its regional subsidiary Widerøe as part of an ongoing restructuring program to achieve financial stability. SAS will sell 80 percent of Widerøe to Norwegian companies Torghatten ASA, Fjord1 AS and Nordland Fylkeskommune. The sales will include seven Bombardier Q400 turboprops that SAS currently leases to the regional carrier. The transaction must be approved by Norwegian authorities, and is expected to close in September.
The FAA–and its parent agency, the Department of Transportation–today announced that it will keep open the 149 contract towers that the agency slated for closure on June 15. These cuts were to be made to comply with sequestration, but on April 26 Congress gave the FAA the authority to shift funds to stop controller furloughs and, possibly, contract tower closures.
Worldwide business jet deliveries rose by 4 percent, to 129 units, in the first quarter, according to statistics released today by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association. Pressurized turboprops, meanwhile, saw an increase of nearly 53 percent year-over-year.