Rekkof Aircraft, the Dutch company trying to bring Fokker F70 and F100 twinjets back into production, has said the uncertain status of the Fairchild Dornier regional jets and the demise of BAE Systems’ Avro RJX program have boosted its prospects. The firm has now joined Embraer and Bombardier in the race to win an order for up to 60 regional jets from German regional operator Lufthansa CityLine.
Bavarian regional airline Augsburg Airways, wholly owned by Germany’s Haindl family, hopes to approach break-even margins by the end of this year following a massive restructuring effort. Begun March 29 with a contract to revamp a six-year-old marketing relationship with Lufthansa Airlines, the overhaul has resulted in the loss of some 140 jobs and the grounding of five airplanes.
Airbus has hired executive charter specialist PrivatAir to operate a corporate shuttle service linking its facilities in the UK, France and Germany. Starting in April, a pair of 126-seat Airbus A319s will provide the daily midweek service between the Airbus factories at Broughton and Filton in the UK with those at Toulouse in southwestern France and Hamburg in northern Germany.
During the ERA assembly held last month in Salzburg, Austria, Rockwell Collins announced FAA certification of its HGS 4200 head-up guidance system (HGS) for use on Bombardier’s CRJ700 and of the HGS 4100 for the Canadian airframer’s Dash 8Q-400. U.S. West Coast operator Horizon Air supported both certification programs. German CRJ700 operator Lufthansa CityLine and French regional Brit Air also chose the HGS 4200.
Lufthansa CityLine is looking at the Bombardier and Embraer regional jet families as alternatives to the firm order for sixty 728JETs that it had placed with airframer Fairchild Dornier. During the ERA assembly, the German regional’s managing director, Karl-Heinz Kopfle, said Bombardier’s CRJ700 and -900s are under consideration, as is the Embraer 170.
Embraer had to scrap plans to bring one of its new 70-seat regional jets to display at the ERA assembly in a bid to catch up on slight technical delays in its certification program. This process is now expected to be complete about three months later than planned, with launch customer Swiss due to receive its first Embraer 170 next August.
European regional airlines strengthened their ties with their major airline counterparts from across the Atlantic last month, when Italy’s Air Dolomiti signed a code-share contract with United Airlines, and the UK’s Flybe entered a similar agreement with Continental Airlines.
Lufthansa Airlines absorbed the sales, marketing and ticketing functions of Team Lufthansa partner Augsburg Airways last month, completing a restructuring exercise that saw Olaf Dlugi replaced by new CEO Manfred Scholz and 144 employees lose their jobs at the Bavarian regional airline. The changes came at the behest of new investors from German paper company Haindl GmbH, the airline’s controlling shareholder.
A joint venture between Air China and Lufthansa has produced one of the world’s largest MRO facilities. The 414,400-sq-ft maintenance hangar provides sufficient space to work on as many as four Airbus A380s at a time. In addition to supporting Air China’s growing fleet, it will also serve private aircraft arriving at the new Terminal 3 at Beijing’s Capital International Airport, built to support this year’s Olympics.
German completion and refurbishment giant Lufthansa Technik is building a research and development center for its cabin innovation business division in Hamburg. The company estimates the investment at about $15.4 million. In addition to offices, the center will contain testing laboratories and display areas for new products under development.