As Franco-Italian turboprop maker ATR readies for the first flight of its new 600 Series this month, the company finds itself in a “comfortable position” by virtue of a backlog of 162 airplanes worth some $3 billion–“pretty much the largest [the company] has achieved in the program,” according to ATR senior vice president John Moore. Still, Moore didn’t deny the difficulty ATR has encountered selling airplanes in North America.
Bombardier Dash 8
Workers at Bombardier’s de Havilland plant in north Toronto ratified a new three-year labor contract yesterday, averting a strike that stood to affect 2,750 workers and halt production of the Q400 turboprop. Eighty-four percent of the workers, who are represented by two local Canadian Auto Workers chapters, voted to accept the new agreement, reached on June 23, after some two months of negotiation and hours after a 10 a.m. strike deadline.
For one week at least, the gloom of the global recession seemed to lift along with the storm clouds gathered over the grounds of the Paris Air Show in Le Bourget, France. An unexpected flurry of sales activity gave the air transport market in particular a welcome boost, as contracts for firm orders, options, letters of intent and memoranda of understanding totalled close to $17 billion.
Bombardier Aerospace announced that MIG Aviation 3 Limited, subsidiary of Greece’s Marfin Investment Group Holdings., has signed a firm order for eight Q400 turboprops, including five Q400 NextGen airliners, for use by its Pantheon Airways unit. The company has also taken options on eight more Q400 NextGen airliners.
Bombardier Aerospace is continuing to define a further stretch of its 78-passenger Dash 8 Q-400 regional turboprop to create a possible 90-seat variant that could enter service before the middle of the next decade.
Bombardier’s plans to increase production of its commercial airplanes by 10 percent this year remain intact for the time being, notwithstanding Bombardier Aerospace president and COO Guy Hachey’s statement today that some customers have approached the company about possible delivery deferrals.
EADS, mas to create regional MRO MAS Aerospace Engineering (MAE), a wholly owned subsidiary of Malaysian Airline System (MAS), and EADS SECA, a Pratt & Whitney-designated aircraft engine repair and overhaul unit of the EADS Group, plan to establish a joint venture company just outside Kuala Lumpur to support and maintain regional airplanes powered by PW100-series turboprops, the companies announced last month.
Although heartened by the turnout at last month’s Regional Airline Association Convention, held May 18 to 21 at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, the RAA could do nothing to lift the pall that the NTSB hearings on the February 12 crash of Colgan Air Flight 3407 and the generally gloomy economic environment would cast over the annual event.
Economic times may be tough, but it’s never a good time for operators to fail to invest in safety. This was the message that Bombardier Aerospace sent here in Geneva yesterday when, for the third successive year, it staged the European edition of its long-running Safety Standdown.
Trans States Holdings president and COO Rick Leach has seen his company through rough patches in the past, and he has helped the RAA tackle “challenges” of many sorts from his position as an association board member. But as this year’s RAA chairman, Leach finds himself presented with a rare opportunity–a chance make a tangible difference during a time of genuine economic upheaval.