Aerostar (Hall 3 Stand B31) has become one of the first independent European MRO organizations to install Split Scimitar winglets on Boeing 737-800s. The work was carried out for Sweden’s TUIFly Nordic at Aerostar’s Bacau facility in Romania, which is also the location of its headquarters. The winglets were fitted to two 737 aircraft, one arriving in early May and having the work done during a maintenance check, while the other followed shortly afterwards for a maintenance check, wing strengthening and installation of winglets.
GE Aviation is preparing to begin flight tests of its new Leap-1C and Passport engines featuring nacelles developed for them by the group’s Nexcelle joint venture with Safran subsidiary Aircelle. Last month, Nexcelle delivered the first full new-generation nacelles for both programs. They are due to fly soon on the engine maker’s Boeing 787 testbed. The Leap-1C is to power Comac’s C919 narrowbody airliner, while the Passport has been selected for Bombardier’s Global 7000 and 8000 business jets.
The trend among tier-two aerospace suppliers to shoulder a higher level of engineering responsibility for the components and subsystems they supply to larger OEMs is just one factor driving the need to ensure the availability of an adequate skills base. For UK precision engineering company Nasmyth, this has led to a concerted effort to recruit and train apprentices in tandem with its efforts to launch new joint ventures in places such as India and South Carolina. On June 26, it opened the office of its new Indian subsidiary in the country’s aerospace hub Bangalore.
With an annual turnover of €186.8 billion (around $200 billion), which represents one percent of the European Union’s GDP, and employing more than 752,000 people, the European aerospace and defense industries play a key role in securing Europe’s future.
Lord Corp. (Chalet A33) is here at the Farnborough show as it starts a major expansion push into Europe. At a pre-show briefing at the Royal Aeronautical Society in London the company unveiled a new “aerospace business growth strategy for Europe”–the main focus being the booming fixed-wing airliner sector, as Lord is already active in the helicopter industry in Europe, specializing in noise, vibration and motion-control technologies.
Unlike its sister ship the EC225, the EC175’s main gearbox has no backup lubrication system, which could present a problem should it experience a total loss of oil. To compensate for this, its components have been designed to withstand the absence of lubricant for a limited period of time. Airbus Helicopters so far has certified a 15-minute dry-run capability (which involved a 30-minute demonstration). Further tests are scheduled for 2015 in a bid to increase the certified duration to at least 30 minutes.
Certification in hand, Airbus Helicopters is endeavoring to ensure a faultless entry into service of its EC175 medium twin, a critical product for the company in the highly competitive offshore oil-and-gas market. The first delivery, to Belgium-based operator NHV, is planned for the second half of this year, almost five years after the first flight. Thanks to the unprecedented preparation at the company’s headquarters in Marignane, France, and at a customer base, program officials believe an EC175 will be able to operate immediately after delivery.
French aerospace industry lobbying association Gifas (Hall 1 Stand A15) is foreseeing another excellent year in terms of revenue and orders. In an economy bombarded with bad news, France’s aerospace sector is often cited as an example. A thorn in its side, however, has been the euro/dollar currency exchange rate. Recruitment remains a tricky issue, too.
This week’s Farnborough International Airshow promises to be another busy one for dealmakers like Michael Richter, managing director and head of aerospace and defense with investment bank Lazard. Even compared with the periods around the 2012 Farnborough show and the 2013 Paris Air Show, he sees rising levels of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity in the commercial aerospace sector. He also anticipates some degree of recovery in defense industry M&A activity, reversing a period of relative inactivity in a sector that has been impacted by uncertainty over military budgets.
Rolls-Royce last month opened its new advanced engine disc manufacturing facility at Washington in the northeast of England. When it is fully operational in 2016, the 194,000-sq-ft (18,000 sq m) factory will have the capacity to make 2,500 fan and turbine discs each year for various Trent engines, including the new Trent XWB that powers the Airbus A350XWB.