Quest Aircraft named Samuel Hill as its new CEO, the Sandpoint, Idaho-based turboprop manufacturer announced today. Hill has more than 40 years of aviation experience, most recently with Honda Aircraft, from which he retired earlier this year. Before joining Honda, he spent 10 years with Embraer Aircraft in key leadership positions, including president and vice chairman, and was responsible for starting Embraer’s corporate aircraft division. Dave Vander Griend, who had been serving as Quest’s interim CEO since mid-2011, will continue in his role as chairman of the board.
Embraer’s Legacy 600/650 program reached a significant milestone with the delivery of the 200th Legacy business jet, in this case a Legacy 650 that was handed over to China’s Minsheng Financial Leasing last week at Embraer’s headquarters in São Paulo, Brazil. This aircraft, one of the 13 Legacy 650s that Minsheng ordered last October, will be used by an undisclosed Chinese customer. Minsheng also has an outstanding order for three Embraer Lineage 1000 bizliners.
Piaggio Avanti fractional provider Avantair closed on $2.8 million in new funding yesterday via the issuance of senior secured convertible notes. The notes have a three-year term and an interest rate of 2 percent. In addition, the company restructured its existing aircraft financing arrangements with Midsouth Services, reducing its monthly lease payments by more than $1.8 million during the next 15 months and extending the maturities on two aircraft.
Boeing projects the world’s airlines should see reasonable liquidity and pricing for new-aircraft delivery financing next year as jet builders accelerate production to meet demand, the manufacturer announced in London on Tuesday while issuing its fifth annual finance market forecast.
Airbus has finished building the main structural assembly and system connection of the first A350 XWB flight test aircraft, MSN-001, the company announced on Tuesday. The aircraft rolled out of the main assembly hall (Station 40) at the recently inaugurated “Roger Béteille” A350 XWB Final Assembly Line in Toulouse.
In late October Bombardier delivered the first of two 75-seat CRJ900s ordered by RwandAir of Kigali, Rwanda. The airline signed the firm order and took options on another two airplanes in March.
Bombardier handed over the ceremonial keys to RwandAir’s dual-class CRJ900 during an event at the manufacturer’s CRJ assembly plant in Mirabel, Québec. Government officials and company executives present for the ceremony included H.E. Edda Mukabagwiza, Rwanda’s High Commissioner to Canada; John Mirenge, CEO of RwandAir; and Mike Arcamone, president of Bombardier Commercial Aircraft.
Virgin Australia said it has reached an agreement in principle to buy a 100-percent stake in Perth, Australia-based Skywest Airlines. Announced on October 30 and still subject to approvals from regulatory authorities and Skywest shareholders, the deal would see the Western Australian regional assume the Virgin Australia brand and, according to Virgin Australia CEO John Borghetti, benefit from further investment by the would-be parent company.
Hurricane Sandy and the subsequent storm that struck the east coast of the U.S. last month forced the world’s largest regional airline company to cancel some 3,100 flights. St. George, Utah-based SkyWest, whose ExpressJet subsidiary flies a network concentrated largely in the eastern half of the U.S., estimates it will lose some $3 million as a result of Sandy and the following week’s Nor’easter.
Hawaiian Airlines’ parent company has begun the process of creating a new regional subsidiary to serve the Hawaiian islands of Molokai and Lanai with a used ATR 42 it bought in late October from Dublin, Ireland’s ASL Aviation Group. A separate purchase agreement between the two companies called for delivery of another ATR 42 last month.
At a time when aviation has achieved an extraordinarily high level of safety, regulators and safety organizations are pushing for more improvements in pilot training to preempt future accidents and ensure that new pilots entering the ranks start off with the right approach. One of the key areas receiving extensive examination is stall training, both in the early stages of ab initio training and how it is taught later to pilots who are flying sophisticated high-performance jets.