National Jet Systems opened a regional aircraft maintenance facility in Brisbane, Australia. The 62,000-sq-ft complex includes a 46,000-sq-ft hangar that will hold three airliners simultaneously. The company operates a fleet of BAE Systems 146s and Avro RJs on wet leases for flag carrier Qantas and as corporate shuttles for the Australian mining industry.
Bombardier Aerospace officially opened last month its Commercial Service Center (CSC) in Mirabel, Quebec, Canada. The CSC is “dedicated to the specific service and support needs of the more than 1,600 out-of-production de Havilland DHC-1 through -7 aircraft still in production,” according to Bombardier.
Swiss authorities have implemented plans for a six-degree approach angle at Lugano Agno Airport, effectively banning the airplane most frequently used there–the Saab 2000 turboprop. The rule change came as several parties jockeyed for position to start new regional operations into Lugano with Saab 2000s after Swiss International Airlines announced plans to severely curtail its service there.
The Powerjet SaM146 turbofan chosen to power the Sukhoi Superjet 100 finished the first phase of flight testing on the program’s Ilyushin Il-76LL testbed early last month, logging more than 30 flying hours during 14 flights, according to director of SaM146 flight testing Yuri Basyuk.
Bombardier Aerospace expects to conclude negotiations soon with Chinese state aerospace conglomerate AVIC I on the terms of an agreement under which the Canadian company would help China develop the 105-seat ARJ21-900. For its part, Bombardier would get $400 million and a risk-sharing partner in the proposed
C Series airliner, due for industrial launch some time this year.
Sukhoi’s new Superjet 100 could be ready to make its long-awaited first flight by the end of this month. Powerjet–the joint venture between France’s Snecma and Russia’s NPO Saturn that is developing the regional airliner’s SaM146 engine–has said that it has applied for a flight permit, having completed more than 30 hours during 14 flights with the turbofan mounted on an Ilyushin Il-76LL testbed.
Leesburg, Va.-headquartered AvCraft Aviation’s takeover of Fairchild Dornier’s 328 program, including the 328JET production line at Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany, was pronounced complete on March 26 by insolvency administrator Dr. Eberhard Braun, who is responsible for selling off the various divisions of the bankrupt aircraft manufacturer. According to the plant’s new management, production should resume during the first quarter of next year.
The board of Swiss International Air Lines on February 24 accepted management’s proposal to reduce its current fleet from 131 to 111 aircraft, furlough up to 700 employees and reduce routes. The airline grounded one Airbus A321, two MD-83s and 17 regional aircraft on March 30, which also marked the beginning of the summer timetable.
Corporate analysts are carefully monitoring the possible implications of any new or modified Bombardier business and financial strategies under new CEO Paul Tellier, who took over from Robert Brown in mid-January. He assumed office last month just as Moody’s Investors Service downgraded long-term debt ratings of Bombardier Inc., Bombardier Capital (BC) and Bombardier Capital Funding.
With no full-blown recovery in air transport demand predicted before 2005, regional airlines will be looking for low-cost fleet development solutions for the next couple of years, according to BAE Systems Regional Aircraft senior v-p of asset management Paul Stirling.