Bombardier Aerospace’s first-quarter revenues declined year-over-year by 8.6 percent, to $2.1 billion, the Canadian aircraft manufacturer reported today. Bombardier executives attributed the lower quarterly revenue in part to the sale of its Flexjet fractional ownership business last year and lower sales of pre-owned aircraft. Meanwhile, its order backlog for both commercial and business aircraft grew to a record $38.5 billion, 40 percent of which is for aircraft under development.
First-quarter revenues at Textron Aviation, which includes Cessna and Beechcraft, were up $77 million, to $785 million, thanks to the mid-March acquisition of Beechcraft, higher jet deliveries and higher aftermarket sales but offset by fewer pre-owned sales and falling revenue at CitationAir. The division recorded a profit of $14 million in the quarter versus a loss of $8 million a year ago, helped by firmer pricing and higher jet volumes.
Genesys Aerosystems (née Cobham) announced a deal yesterday with Air Medical Group Holdings for 210 HeliSAS systems to be installed in the operator’s fleet of Bell and Eurocopter EMS helicopters at subsidiaries Air Evac, Med Trans, EagleMed and Reach. The HeliSAS two-axis autopilot and stability augmentation system will be fitted to Air Medical Group’s fleet of helicopters over the next three years.
BAE Systems has been awarded a contract extension that will see it continue to support the RAF’s Tornado GR.Mk 4 fleet until the type’s planned retirement in 2019. BAE has been supporting the aircraft through the ATTAC (availability transformation: Tornado aircraft contract) program since 2006, but the initial 10-year period was due to expire in 2016. The new extension adds three years and approximately £125 million ($210 million) to the deal.
The U.S. Navy recently ordered five more MQ-8C Fire Scouts, bringing to 19 the number of Bell 407-based unmanned helicopters it plans to buy from Northrop Grumman. But the Fire Scout program faces scrutiny by Congress for cost overruns.
China, as Asia’s largest prospective market for business aviation, always seemed an obvious choice as the location for the Asian Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition (ABACE). But with demand for business aviation now bubbling in other parts of Asia, and the industry having to show patience in waiting for China to fulfill its potential, some have questioned whether organizer NBAA might consider freshening up the event in some other venue.
The Bombardier Learjet 85 prototype–designated as flight-test vehicle one (FTV1)–successfully completed its maiden flight on April 9. The all-composite twinjet lifted off from Wichita Mid Continent International Airport at 8:19 a.m. CST, marking the beginning of the all-composite midsize jet’s flight-test program.
As part of enhanced collective measures agreed to by member countries in April, NATO has deployed more fighters to eastern Europe in response to the continuing crisis in Ukraine. France and Canada have dispatched aircraft this week, while a new NATO multinational team is taking over the enhanced air defense detachment in the Baltic republics.
The AgustaWestland AW609 civil tiltrotor achieved another milestone on the road to certification, recently completing autorotation testing at the company’s facility in Arlington, Texas. Over the course of 10 flight hours in March and early this month, an AW609 test aircraft made more than 70 power-off conversions from airplane to helicopter mode.
Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG and Aviadvigatel have confirmed that work continues on “radical modernization” of the MiG-31 Foxhound, with the focus on extending the performance of the aging, out-of-production Mach 3 interceptor so that it can carry out not only air-defense duties but also serve the recently established VKO, the Russian acronym for the country’s Air and Space Defense (Command). Under a directive from the Russian defense ministry, RAC MiG is working on new versions of the aircraft that are more capable than the current MiG-31BM.