As aircraft membership club Wheels Up celebrates its first anniversary next Friday, founder and CEO Kenny Dichter said the company has expanded in line with initial projections and he predicted even more growth in the coming year. “We currently have 28 airplanes, nearly 600 members and are on target for meeting and exceeding our business objectives. In a short time, we are a major player in the private aviation industry,” he said.
Bristow Group obtained UK Civil Aviation Authority approval late last week to place the first two AgustaWestland AW189 medium twins into service. The AW189 launch customer and OGP operator is expected to begin operations shortly with the pair from its base in Norwich to platforms in the Southern North Sea. Bristow has four more AW189s on order.
India’s loss-making Jet Airways and its new 24-percent owner Etihad Airways are formulating plans for restructuring debt and fleet rationalization for enhancing a full-service branding. Jet, reporting $689 million in declared losses last year, expects to show profits by 2017, founder and chairman Naresh Goyal said at a July 23 press conference in New Delhi.
The Air Algerie McDonnell Douglas MD-83 carrying 110 passengers and six crewmembers that had gone missing while en route from the West African nation of Burkina Faso to Algiers has reportedly crashed.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration on July 24 lifted the prohibition on U.S. flights to and from Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport it imposed earlier this week due to the fighting in Gaza. The agency said it cancelled a notice to airmen (Notam) it had earlier renewed, with the cancellation becoming effective at 11:45 EDT.
The Swedish defence export agency FXM announced that the Saab Gripen will not be entered for Denmark’s new fighter competition. Denmark has issued an 800-page “Request for Binding Information” (RBI) on alternatives to the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II stealth fighter; it is one of two international F-35 partners that has not yet committed to the program. The Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet and the Eurofighter Typhoon are the other contenders in Denmark.
Lockheed Martin (LM) and BAE Systems reported progress this month on their rival upgrades for F-16 Fighting Falcons. Two aircraft from each company’s launch customer (Taiwan for LM, Korea for BAE) are now in rework, ironically just a few miles from each other in Fort Worth, Texas. Meanwhile, the ferry of Iraq’s first two new Block 52 aircraft in September is looking unlikely.
The lead insurer for Malaysia Airlines war risk hull coverage, London-based Atrium Underwriting Group, has agreed to settle its share of the latest hull loss suffered by Malaysia Airlines. Western military intelligence suggests that separatists in eastern Ukraine shot down Flight MH17 as it flew at 33,000 feet over a region near Donetsk, killing all 298 on board.
A coalition of aviation trade associations spoke out on behalf of the international maintenance, repair and overhaul market. While the matter at hand was drug and alcohol testing at foreign aviation repair stations, the Aeronautical Repair Station Association says that what is really at stake is international sovereignty, the health of the global aeronautical business community and the safety of the flying public worldwide.
The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force honored the first aviation mechanic, Charles Taylor, by unveiling a bronze bust of his likeness for permanent display in the museum’s Early Years Gallery.A brilliant, self-taught man, Taylor began working in the Wrights’ bicycle business in 1896 and played an important role in their flying experiments for several years. Unable to find a manufacturer who could build an engine to their –specifications–no more than 180 pounds and delivering eight to nine horsepower–the Wright brothers turned to Taylor.
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