The world financial crisis is hitting military budgets as well as commercial aviation, forcing Finmeccanica, Italy’s leading defense and aerospace group, to keep a close eye on the evolving situation.
Paris Air Show » June 15, 2009
Crane Aerospace & Electronics (Hall 5 Stand A24) has appointed Michael Romito to serve as aerospace group president. He runs its sites in Burbank, California; Elyria, Ohio; Lynwood, Washington; and Lyon, France.
The downturn in demand in some of its markets has not dented the ardor of engine maker Pratt & Whitney for developing new technology. “We have to be ready for the upturn,” said the U.S. company’s new president, David Hess. “We have to keep people focused on the great future of Pratt & Whitney, positioning ourselves for a strong recovery.”
In the face of the global economic recession, Airbus does not expect to reach its previously predicted 300 new orders this year and has switched its efforts to retaining as much of its order backlog as possible. Nevertheless, the EADS subsidiary believes the downturn in airline traffic is close to the bottom and that gradual economic recovery next year will be accompanied by improved market prospects.
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) hopes that new export orders, such as a $50 million deal to supply unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to Russia, will bolster sales that dipped by 24 percent during the first quarter of 2009.
Royal Air Maroc is one of the most recent customers to sign up for the new 600 Series of ATR-42s and ATR-72s being developed by Avions de Transport Regional. The new aircraft is due to make its first flight next month as the French-Italian manufacturer heads for projected certification in the second half of 2010.
After 28 years with General Electric Lorraine Bolsinger took over as president and CEO of GE Aviation Systems in October 2008. What a time to take the reins at a top-tier aerospace supplier, with the civil side of its business facing its most serious downturn in several generations.
Turbomeca is pressing ahead with a radical design for a new generation of helicopter engines to deliver a quantum leap in operational efficiency. “If we do not shoot for a 30- to 50-percent improvement in fuel burn for 20 to 30 years from now, the helicopter will be no more than an airshow attraction and will no longer be a business tool,” the French company’s president Pierre Fabre told AIN.
“There was always talk of the labor shortage in the MRO market of ‘Mr. Right Skills,’ a shortage so bad that we’d be grounding planes,” said David Stewart, a partner in forecasting group AeroStrategy. “First of all, we never grounded planes, so somehow our industry coped with the shortage. Second, we’re now into recession so it’s less of an issue.
If it didn’t become immediately apparent when Boeing began alluding to time frames that implied a replacement of the 737 might not materialize until 2020, the company’s recent revelations of a new set of design enhancements certainly erased any doubts that a so-called follow-on will have to wait until designers and engineers squeeze all the efficiency and comfort available from the existing narrowbody family.