After years of investigation, Britain’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) said it would seek to prosecute BAE Systems “for offenses related to overseas corruption.” The alleged offenses have been widely reported to involve the sales of Gripen fighter aircraft to South Africa and their lease to the Czech Republic (BAE is a partner with Saab in the Gripen International company); a ground radar system to Tanzania; and two former Royal Navy frigates to R
Delta Air Lines’ plans to cut another 10 percent of its system capacity this fall will result in the loss of 100 pilot jobs at Comair, 110 at Mesaba Airlines and 56 at Atlantic Southeast. ASA’s cuts take effect September 1, while a planned 20-percent drop in block hours by the end of September at Comair will require a broad review of all staffing levels “in the coming weeks.”
Ruag Aerospace and Saab Avitronics are launching a low-cost protection system for helicopters that can be rapidly installed to provide a range of protective features on a per-mission basis. The plug-on device (POD) is an integrated, self-contained unit offering high levels of protection against man-portable and other low-level missile threats.
This week the Swedish chief prosecutor, Christer van der Kwast, decided to close the preliminary investigation into alleged illegal methods concerned with the sale of Gripen aircraft. Saab’s communications director, Cecilia Schön Jansson, commented that, “the decision is fully in line with what we have claimed all along. We can now put this behind us.”
Avionics display provider Barco last month announced the details of an agreement with Saab of Sweden to produce a head-up display for light airplanes and helicopters that replaces traditional overhead HUD technology using a simpler video-camera setup controlled by special software.
All 125 turboprops in Saab Aircraft Leasing (SAL)’s portfolio had found homes by the end of last year, leaving the company with not one of its aircraft available for lease or purchase. SAL executed 17 aircraft transactions during a period of limited availability.
American Airlines sister company AMR Leasing signed a contract to sell and lease back the 39 ATR 72s flown by American Eagle unit Executive Airlines. Under the terms of the deal, AMR Leasing will sell all the airplanes to an undisclosed entity that will lease the aircraft to Ireland’s NK Aviation, a newly formed joint venture between Denmark’s Nordic Aviation Capital (NAC) and Kirk Kapital A/S.
Saab reacted with vigor to a statement by the Norwegian government that the Gripen fighter was inferior to the Lockheed Martin F-35 JSF in most aspects of performance–and was also more expensive. Norway had been evaluating the Gripen NG (New Generation) as an alternative to the JSF, and Saab had high hopes of launching the NG version with the help of its Scandinavian neighbor.
Future fuel prices will determine the markets for regional turboprop and jet aircraft, according to Saab Aircraft Leasing president and chief executive Michael Magnusson. The Swedish manufacturer maintains a sizeable fleet of its Saab 340 and 2000 regional turboprop designs for lease and expects to benefit from industry moves to reduce costs by making greater use of such equipment rather than regional jets.
Although India’s 126-aircraft requirement is the main prize for the world’s fighter manufacturers, major procurement decisions in Brazil and Switzerland are expected to be made long before Delhi makes its choice.