The task of keeping development of the new Airbus A350XWB airliner on track for service entry in the second half of 2014 “remains challenging,” the European airframer’s parent company EADS acknowledged at a press conference today.
India’s Ghodawat Industries placed an order for a Eurocopter EC135 helicopter at the Aero India show in Bangalore this week. The aircraft will be configured for four passengers and is due for delivery in May, when it will replace the customer’s existing EC120 model.
Eurocopter has taken over the aerospace activities of Heuliez, one of its suppliers, based in Cerizay, Western France. The 49 jobs will be regrouped in a newly created subsidiary, Hélicoptère Aérostructure Services. Since 2008 Heuliez has provided Eurocopter with “concepts derived from the automotive industry” for EC120, EC130 and EC175 doors, as well as the AS350 Ecureuil’s canopy.
The vital North Sea fleet of EC225 helicopters is expected to remain grounded until April, according to Eurocopter CEO Lutz Bertling. The aircraft have not flown since October, when gearbox failures on two different machines caused Norwegian and UK officials to prohibit over-water flights until a fix is identified.
Sean O’Keefe, chairman and CEO of Airbus Group’s North American business unit, will resign his position effective March 1. His successor will be Allan McArtor, currently chairman of Airbus Americas, who will also join the Airbus Group Executive Committee.
White Plains, N.Y.-based Safe Flight Instrument has promoted Matthew Greene from v-p of program management to executive v-p.
Production of the Airbus Military C212 light transport is being transferred to Indonesia. The company signed a “strategic collaboration agreement” with PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PTDI) in mid-2011. The last aircraft to be assembled in Spain–a C212-400 version–was delivered to the Vietnam Marine Police in late December.
AgustaWestland is making a new push into South America. The Italian helicopter maker, part of the defense and industrial conglomerate Finmeccanica, signed a memorandum of understanding on January 21 to establish a joint venture with Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer to build AgustaWestland helicopters in Brazil for both the domestic and regional military and civilian markets.
The delivery schedule for the Eurocopter EC175 medium twin has moved further to the right. The unidentified first customer is now expected to receive the first example in the fourth quarter, instead of September, according to a recent update from Eurocopter. In addition to the delay in avionics development, CEO Lutz Bertling cited the better-than-projected performance, which involves reopening certain certification files.
ATR has confirmed that it will further boost production this year and present a business case to its shareholders for a new 90-seat model.
While addressing journalists at the company’s base in Toulouse, southern France, CEO Filippo Bagnato said that ATR had recorded a “good” level of orders in 2012 (firm orders for 74 aircraft and options on 41), worth $2.6 billion at list prices. Meanwhile, revenue increased to a record $1.44 billion, up 11 percent on 2011 and with a big jump from $500 million in 2005.
Airbus Military still expects to deliver the first production A400M to the French Air Force in the second quarter. The milestone slipped by three months following a gearbox fault last summer, which interrupted function and reliability (F&R) flight-testing. To support its recent military intervention in Mali, France turned to the UK Royal Air Force C-17 fleet, which flew troops and equipment from Villacoublay to Bamako.