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.
GKN Aerospace (Chalet G1) comes to Farnborough content in having achieved “a good set of results” in 2013 as it increased sales by 10 percent to £7.6 billion (around $10 billion). “It was a good year at GKN pretty much across the board–bar land systems,” said Kevin Cummings, CEO of GKN aerospace during a pre-airshow briefing.
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.
While calling extending its geared turbofan engine family’s thrust rating by another 2,000 pounds “a big deal,” Pratt & Whitney next-generation product family vice president Bob Saia sees still bigger things in the company’s future, including what he called an Advanced GTF that could rival an open-rotor design in fuel efficiency by the middle of the next decade. For now, though, Saia finds himself “busy as a bee” with the five core programs already under way at the U.S. company.
Even as aircraft engine makers continue their very focused efforts to reduce fuel consumption and emissions, the use of biofuel alternatives to jet-A is an increasingly important facet of the campaign to make air transport more environmentally sustainable. Plans for making biofuels a more mainstream option for operators now account for around half of all the objectives set by the Advisory Council for Aviation Research and Innovation in Europe (Acare).
Crane Aerospace & Electronics has received a pair of new contracts to supply power conversion products. In the first of two deals announced here on the first day of the Farnborough International Airshow, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) signed with Crane to use Interpoint power converters for the Mars 2020 mission. The California-based company plans to use a variety of space dc-dc converters and filters including Crane’s SMRT product, which features a built-in EMI filter, independent outputs and adjustable output voltage.
Prospects for the much-anticipated launch of the Airbus A330neo appeared to be strengthening on the eve of the 2014 Farnborough International Airshow. While the European airframer was officially remaining tight-lipped on plans for the re-engined model, this has done little to dispel Reuters and Bloomberg reports of a launch announcement this week, citing sources close to the program. In particular, Hawaiian Airlines confirmed that it is actively considering the A330neo as a possible alternative to the A350-800.
Engine manufacturer CFM International announced yesterday here at Farnborough International 2014 that American Airlines has selected its Leap-1A turbofan engine to power 100 Airbus A320neos. At list price, CFM values the engine order at $2.6 billion. The aircraft order was originally announced in July 2011 and American will begin taking delivery of the aircraft in 2017.
Debuting its new 787-9 widebody here at the Farnborough International Airshow yesterday, Boeing fired off an aggressive opening salvo against its rival Airbus. According to the U.S. airframer’s marketing vice president Randy Tinseth, if Airbus goes ahead with its anticipated launch of the re-engined A330neo this week it will prove that its A350 program is a failure.
At the recent ILA Berlin Airshow, Airbus Defence & Space reported progress with the passive radar [alternatively, passive coherent location (PCL)] system that predecessor company Cassidian had been developing since 2006. Frank Bernhardt, project manager, said that the company has “worked closely” with two armed forces on tests of the system. One of them is Germany.