The Civil Aviation Safety Authority of Australia (Casa) has begun the process of permanently shutting down Barrier Aviation, a charter company whose operations the regulator suspended last December. A Casa spokesman said the agency permanently grounded the company’s 34 aircraft because management ordered pilots to fly aircraft that were not airworthy.
The International Helicopter Safety Team (IHST) says it’s time to develop a team focused solely on helicopter safety in the U.S. The new team will be co-chaired by the Bristow Group’s Bill Chiles, representing industry, while James Viola from the FAA’s Flight Standards Division heads the government contingent. Even though the number of civil helicopter accidents has declined over the past six years, that decline has recently leveled off.
Airbus and Boeing each secured major commitments for their respective narrowbodies last week, potentially helping to quiet some of the debate surrounding the extent of their production rate increases.
As India’s air traffic grows and skies get crowded, the country’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) and Ministry of Civil Aviation have finally reached an agreement on a long-standing demand for flexible use of airspace (FUA). The implementation will stand “subject to ensuring adequate safeguards in the system to prevent inadvertent leaks of military information and dissemination of any information on military aviation activities strictly on a ‘need to know’ basis,” noted a government statement. The military currently controls approximately 65 percent of India’s airspace.
The world’s airlines will achieve somewhat higher than expected profits this year, according to the latest projections from the International Air Transport Association (IATA). The industry group now expects its members to post a combined net post-tax profit margin of 1.6 percent this year (up from the earlier projection of 1.3 percent) on net income of $10.6 billion (up from $8.4 billion).
The FAA announced today that 149 federal contract towers will close beginning April 7 as part of the agency’s plan to trim its budget by $637 million in Fiscal Year 2013 under sequestration. Two weeks ago, the FAA released a list of 238 towers potentially facing closure.
Faced with growing costs in the Lockheed Martin F-35 program, Denmark is reviewing its options for a new fighter and has invited Boeing (F/A-18 Super Hornet), Eurofighter (Typhoon) and Saab (Gripen E) to submit information for alternatives. A decision is due in 2015. Dassault (Rafale) may have been approached, but at the time of writing appeared unlikely to respond. The company has a history of not bidding on programs that it calculates have little chance of success.
Operational testing and evaluation of the F-35A has begun, with the delivery of four aircraft to Nellis AFB. They were accepted by the U.S. Air Force Warfare Center in a ceremony on March 19. Eight more F-35As will join them by 2019. The Air Force has now received 24 F-35A conventional takeoff and landing aircraft. Another 34 F-35s have been delivered to the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Navy.
MBDA has confirmed that production rounds of the Meteor long-range air-to-air missile are scheduled for delivery before year-end. However, MBDA managing director Steve Wadey would not disclose which air force will be the first to get the new missile, which MBDA UK claims represents a “step change in the air-to-air world.” AIN reported last year that French Rafale and Swedish Gripen fighters would be flying operational Meteors ahead of the four Eurofighter nations.
The first T-50 advanced jet trainer for the Indonesian Air Force has been flown in Korea by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI). The first export order for the T-50 was placed in 2011, and is worth $400 million for 16 aircraft, according to the Indonesians.