London’s Stansted Airport is set to get a fourth FBO, with The Diamond Hangar scheduled to open in time for the start of the 2012 Olympic Games on July 27. The new venture is trading on the Aero Toy Store brand, and its main shareholder is Ben Shirazi, son of the U.S. aircraft sales and completions group’s founder, Morris Shirazi.
BAE Systems is competing against Lockheed Martin to be the prime contractor for Korea’s forthcoming upgrade of some 130 F-16s. Attention has focused largely on the competition between Northrop Grumman and Raytheon to supply the AESA radar. But the Korean request for proposals also invited non-OEMs to bid as system integrator. Taiwan and the U.S. are also planning a similar upgrade to some 140 and 300 aircraft, respectively. Other F-16 operators may follow, making this a multibillion-dollar market.
British competition authorities have dismissed complaints that they did not investigate the British Airways (BA) bid to buy BMI (the former British Midland International) from Germany’s Lufthansa—a deal approved by the European Commission (EC) on March 30.
Eurofighter signed a new, five-year support contract with NETMA, the NATO management agency that represents the four European partner nations in the combat aircraft program. As before, the Eurofighter industrial partners will deliver support to the individual air forces. Alenia values its part of the deal, to support the Italian air force, at more than $660 million. BAE Systems says its contract to support the UK Royal Air Force (RAF) is worth $708.5 million. EADS values its future support to the German and Spanish air forces at more than $1.1 billion.
Commercial aviation is the biggest impediment to business aviation’s growth in Asia, according to Tay Tiang Guan, deputy director general of the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS). Speaking at the ABACE show conference session yesterday, Tay admitted that the rapid growth of the commercial aviation sector is taking the lion’s share of regulators’ attention and dominating airspace.
Today Gulfstream Aerospace named 25-year business aviation veteran Trevor Esling as regional senior vice president of international sales for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). Esling, who most recently was Cessna Aircraft’s senior vice president of international sales for the EMEA region, is responsible for leading Gulfstream’s EMEA sales team from a base in London. Before working at Cessna, Esling was employed by BAe Commercial Aircraft, BAe Corporate Jets and Raytheon Aircraft.
One of the airports most conveniently placed for access to the northeast side of London, where the main Olympic venue is situated, is Stansted. Located right next to the venue, London City will be in high demand, and airports such as Southend, Luton and Biggin Hill also are likely to prove popular with business/private aircraft operators and owners.
Britain’s Ministry of Defence might sell its RAF Northolt air base in the west London suburbs as part of aggressive budget cuts. The airfield is already used for limited business aviation operations, and these could potentially increase if the property is sold to a company wanting to operate it as an airport. However, if Northolt is sold for some other commercial purpose, then the airport could be history. The options are due to be considered as part of a wider review of UK airport capacity to be launched in the spring.
The Royal Bank of Scotland Group has agreed to sell RBS Aviation Capital to Japan’s Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) for some $7.3 billion, RBS announced today.
Stelios Haji-Ioannou, who established and whose family retains almost 40 percent of British low-cost carrier (LCC) EasyJet, has partnered with UK entrepreneurs wanting to buy aviation companies.