Bombardier is expanding maintenance capacity at its Tucson, Ariz., service center for its Q400 and Q400 NextGen twin turboprops. The airframer has added three additional lines of maintenance staff in southwestern U.S. facility, supplementing capacity already available to regional airline customers in Bridgeport, W.Va., and Macon, Ga.
Air Transport and Cargo
News and issues relating to international air transport and cargo carriers, national airlines and regional airlines, including aircraft, engines, personnel, acquisitions, accidents, safety, security and training.
Boeing has started discussions with airline and leasing customers about technical, pricing and schedule aspects of the proposed 777X widebody, the company confirmed last week. It said it will decide whether or not to formally launch the program based on the market’s response.
Battery system modifications to the world’s Boeing 787s continued at a steady pace while details of plans for service resumptions gradually began to emerge by the time Qatar Airways flew one of its five airplanes on a route between Doha and Dubai last Wednesday.
Another sign of what Embraer CEO Frederico Curado has characterized as a resurgent regional jet market appeared last week, when United Airlines inked a firm order for 30 of the Brazilian manufacturer’s E175s. The deal, which includes options on another 40 of the 76-seat airplanes, marks the first move by United to exploit its newfound freedom to alter the composition of its regional jet network since its pilots agreed to relax the scope clause in their labor contract last December.
CFM International last week froze the design of the Leap engine variant destined to power Boeing’s new 737 Max narrowbody. The Snecma-GE joint venture has said it expects to achieve the first full engine test of the Leap-1B in the middle of next year, followed by initial flight-testing in 2015 and powerplant certification in 2016. Boeing expects the 737 Max to enter service in 2017.
Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) has launched a campaign to convince new airlines to launch flights to six international airports in the country.
Despite the difficulty ATR has encountered in penetrating the U.S. turboprop market, company CEO Filippo Bagnato continues to express optimism that the Franco-Italian partnership will experience a resurgence in what perhaps represents its final frontier of a sort. Now controlling some 60 percent of the market for 50- to 90-seat airplanes based on unit sales backlogs, the last Western maker of 50-seat-category turboprops sees itself as a potential lifeline for small U.S. cities and communities that can no longer support the services of regional jets of any size.
Boeing and NASA said they completed the flight-test program of the X-48C blended wing body (BWB) research aircraft on April 9. The program consisted of 30 flights over eight months at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
Despite some vacillation on the part of airframe OEMs still studying the form their respective 90-seat turboprop might finally take, development of Pratt & Whitney Canada’s engine offering continues on what company vice president of marketing Richard Dussault called a critical path leading to expected launch next year.
Memphis-based Pinnacle Airlines on Wednesday officially emerged from bankruptcy as a wholly owned regional subsidiary of Delta Air Lines.