The FAA used International Civil Aviation Organization standards during a recent inspection to determine that Serbia’s aviation safety rating should be upgraded to Category 1 from Category 2. Serbia’s safety rating had been at Category 2 since 2006, indicating the country either lacked laws or regulations to oversee air carriers in accordance with minimum international standards, or that its civil aviation authority was deficient in one or more areas, such as technical expertise, trained personnel, record-keeping or inspection procedures.
Boeing and Spirit Aerosystems have dispatched a team of experts to the site of a July 3 train derailment in Montana to assess the damage to six 737 fuselages, three of which slid down an embankment and into the Clark Fork River. Of the 19 cars that derailed near Rivulet, Montana, several also contained assembles for the 777 and 747.
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has certified the new Pratt & Whitney Canada PW127N turboprop to power the ATR 72-600. The PW127N offers 4.5 percent more takeoff power for better hot-and-high performance. Plans call for the PW127N to progressively roll into Avianca’s ATR fleet throughout this year and next. ATR expects to deliver the first Avianca ATR 72-600 equipped with the new engines “in the coming weeks,” allowing the airline to benefit from better takeoff performance at high-altitude airports such as its hub in Bogota, Colombia.
Bombardier Aerospace delivered the first “enhanced” CRJ900 to American Airlines regional subsidiary PSA Airlines on June 5. Based in Dayton, Ohio, PSA plans to start operating the jet under the American Eagle brand “later this summer.” Formerly a US Airways Express subsidiary, it now flies 35 CRJ200s and 14 CRJ700s primarily out of Charlotte, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia.
Flybe Finland has agreed to open new routes this summer from Helsinki to the Russian destinations of Nizhny Novgorod, Samara and Kazan on behalf of Finnair with Embraer E190s. Service to Nizhny Novgorod International Airport begins on July 25, flights to Samara’s Kurumoch International Airport start on August 7 and operations to Kazan International Airport commence on August 18. Plans call for flights to run three times per week on all three routes.
The ATR Assembly of Members has appointed Patrick de Castelbajac, 43, CEO of ATR. He succeeds Filippo Bagnato, whose four-year mandate according to ATR’s statutes expired at the end of May.
John Bingham, who has been president and CEO of Piaggio America and chief marketing officer at parent company Piaggio Aero Industries since 2009, left the company on May 30. The company said the move was a planned departure, but was delayed until after it had announced the upgraded Avanti Evo at EBACE in mid-May. Giuliano Felten, Piaggio Aero’s executive senior vice president of civil sales, took over as president and CEO of Piaggio America early last month.
Private charter operator Qatar Executive–a subsidiary of Qatar Airways–is set to open a new FBO at Doha’s Hamad International Airport shortly, having already moved its headquarters there. The airport, which opened earlier this year after a series of delays, is scheduled to replace Doha International Airport as the Gulf nation’s primary international gateway. The company plans to strengthen its core Middle East, Far East and African markets next year, according to executive vice president David Edwards.
Patrick de Castelbajac was named CEO of Avions de Transport Regional (ATR). He was previously head of contract negotiations for Airbus.
James Colleary was named president of Associated Air Center. He was previously COO and replaces Jack Lawless, who left the company.
The Middle East and North Africa Business Aviation Association appointed Benoit Defforge, managing director of Airbus Corporate Jets, and Renaud Cloatre, international sales director for Dassault Aviation, to its board of directors.
The FAA’s Flight Standards District Offices (FSDOs) have a backlog of applications for certificates that concerns the Department of Transportation Inspector General’s Office. As of last October, 1,029 new air operator, flight school and repair station applicants awaited certificates from FSDOs across all eight FAA regions, with 138 applications delayed longer than three years, the IG reported to Congress on June 12.