The Pentagon announced the award of an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract to Northrop Grumman on June 3 for ongoing modernization and sustainment of the B-2A Spirit bomber. The IDIQ contact comes with a ceiling of $9.9 billion; at the same time, Northrop Grumman is preparing for the possibility of its building the Long Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B) that will replace the B-2.
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Chile’s aviation authority has suspended the air operator certificate of local airline PAL after it failed a safety audit. The only reason given by the agency was “the airline’s failure to satisfy unspecified technical requirements laid down in its AOC that could put its safety and security at risk if not resolved.” PAL operates a fleet of Boeing 737-300s.
The South Korean government has prohibited the country’s airlines from setting up low-cost joint venture operations with foreign carriers. This week’s order from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MLIT) came in response to demands by some local low-cost carriers (LCCs) that the domestic market deserves protection from foreign-backed competition.
U.S. FAA Administrator Michael Huerta on Tuesday made his second appearance in three years at the annual Regional Airline Association Convention.
The shortage of qualified entry-level pilots at the regional airlines hasn’t come as some unexpected phenomenon to the Regional Airline Association. The group has warned for years now that the change in first-officer pilot requirements that mandates an ATP certificate and what it terms an “arbitrary” 1,500 hours of flying time would result in loss of air service to small communities in particular.
Alaska Airlines was the most fuel-efficient U.S. carrier for domestic operations in 2011 and 2012, according to a nonprofit organization’s analysis. Allegiant Air and American Airlines were the least fuel-efficient carriers during the survey period, the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) says in a study released on April 30.
The U.S. Navy released a draft request for proposal (RFP) for the unmanned carrier-launched airborne surveillance and strike system (UClass) air segment to four contractors on April 17. The service expects to release a final RFP later this year.
Passenger satisfaction with U.S. airlines remains low, according to an annual benchmarking survey, which identified uncomfortable seats and poor inflight service as major contributing factors.
AgustaWestland and Sino-US Intercontinental of China celebrated the grand opening of a joint regional business headquarters in Shanghai on April 9. In September, Sino-US Intercontinental was appointed an official non-exclusive distributor for AgustaWestland civil helicopters in China, but not including Hong Kong and Macau. Sino-US Intercontinental Helicopter Investment is part of Shanghai Zenisun Investment Group, a real estate and general aviation company that has been selling and operating helicopters in China since 2006.
While the Regional Airline Association and regional airline management point to new rules governing flight time experience for first officers as the primary reason for a pilot shortage that has resulted in a loss of service to several U.S. communities, pilots contend the airlines have made their own mess by creating a business model predicated on breadline wages for cockpit crew. The Air Line Pilots Association, for one, argues that there’s no shortage of pilots, only a shortage of pilots willing to fly for substandard wages and inadequate benefits.