Japan’s first indigenous commercial passenger jet, the MRJ, is on track to make its first flight this year, according to Hideo Egawa, chairman and CEO of Mitsubishi Aircraft. While Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has long contributed components and assemblies in support of other manufacturer’s projects, the next-generation MRJ represents its first designed and produced passenger jet. Indeed, Egawa described the task of integrating all the efforts to produce the regional jet as one of the biggest challenges Mitsubishi Aircraft has faced since its launch in 2008.
Dubai International Airport (DXB) is to close both runways over a period of almost three months next year in a major refurbishment program that will lead to the diversion of scheduled passenger flights, as well as all Emirates SkyCargo aircraft, to the new Dubai World Central Airport (DWC). The work at one of the world’s busiest intercontinental hubs is due to take 80 days and will start on May 1 next year.
With increasing numbers of Airbus A380s in their fleets, Asian and Middle East airlines are growing impatient to start deploying the super-large widebodies on services to and from India. But the Indian government’s policy of sheltering national carrier Air India from competition is preventing carriers such as Lufthansa, Emirates and Singapore Airlines (SIA) from using aircraft larger than the Boeing 747 under the terms of existing air services agreements.
The German Ministry of Defence abruptly canceled plans to introduce a fleet of five Northrop Grumman RQ-4E Euro Hawk UAVs for high-altitude Sigint collection. The first aircraft, delivered in July 2011, was already flying on development tasks from Manching airbase near Munich. According to German media reports, the country has already spent €508 million of the planned €1.2 billion (in 2012 prices) to acquire the fleet, which was intended to replace aging Atlantic manned twin turboprops.
India’s Ministry of Defense has issued a request for proposal (RFP) for the procurement of 56 transport aircraft to replace the air force’s aging fleet of around 30 Avro 748Ms. In a bid to launch an indigenous private defense manufacturing capability, this is the first time an RFP states that the Indian Production Agency (IPA) will be a private company. This leaves out Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL), which has until now held a monopoly in defense programs. The last date for submission of bids is October 8.
Earlier this year Gestair (Booth 755) opened a new FBO facility in the former authorities pavilion at Madrid-Barajas airport, which is where all the Spanish capital’s business aviation traffic is now directed. Previously those flights had operated into Torrejón air base, but that operation has been closed down. Gestair, with 35 years experience providing business aviation services, won the initial five-year contract from AENA (Spanish airports and air navigation authority) to manage the Barajas executive terminal.
During an EBACE interview, Daher-Socata (Booth 1643) airplane division senior v-p Nicolas Chabbert told AIN that none of the company’s design engineers is currently working on its new twin project (NTX) that it has been considering since 2008. “The NTX project is in standby mode,” he said. At least, the Tarbes, France-based manufacturer of the single-engine TBM 850 turboprop knows where its main competitors stand. Pilatus has just unveiled a light twinjet, the PC-24, and Beechcraft now offers a turboprop-only lineup.
Bombardier has selected Lufthansa Technik’s nice HD cabin management and in-flight entertainment system for its upgraded Challenger 350, thus adding audio and video on-demand distribution to personal devices.
Lufthansa Technik said that its nice HD system has a flexible, open IP architecture, based on a wired and wireless broadband Ethernet network. The bottom line in the Challenger 350 will be that each passenger can watch individually chosen movies on an Apple, Android or Windows 8 device and also push content from the device to an embedded display.
According to charter broker Air Partner, Conklin & de Decker released research during EBACE 2013 indicating that the use of charter jet cards is on the rise in Europe. The report assesses the jet card products offered by NetJets Europe (Booth 7011) and Air Partner across six key criteria: accessible service areas; notice period; aircraft choice; pricing; flexibility; and quality assurance, service and safety.
Inflight Executive Jet Centre at Stansted Airport in London has appointed Steve Grimes as its new managing director. Grimes is assigned the mission of expanding business for Inflight’s FBO and its maintenance shop.
“I am looking forward to growing the business in both areas,” said Grimes, “which could mean expanding with new locations for both operations and maintenance.” Inflight also said its growth strategy includes expanding into aircraft completions and interior refurbishment.