Designing a new aircraft in the 90-seat class is no longer a priority, ATR CEO Patrick de Castelbajac explained yesterday here at the Farnborough International Airshow. “It was something my predecessor was very keen on, as were probably 95 percent of our employees and a number of our customers,” he stated. However, he pointed out that major shareholder Airbus Group believes “the timing is not now” for such an ambitious project.
Embraer has announced a string of orders this week here at Farnborough International 2014, for a total of 158 regional jets (if all options were exercised). The most prominent one came from Trans States Holdings, the parent company of Trans States Airlines, Compass Airlines and GoJet Airlines, for 50 E175-E2 airliners, plus an option for an additional 50. Its first E175 is expected to enter service in 2020.
Canada’s Bombardier unveiled a cargo-passenger variant of its Q400 in Farnborough on Tuesday, adding one more choice to a growing list of configurations for the versatile turboprop.
Available in various arrangements, the combi version offers up to 8,200 pounds of cargo capacity and as much as 1,150 cubic feet of volume. Using Class C cargo compartments, the so-called high-cargo version can hold 50 passengers at a 32-inch seat pitch. Bombardier claims it has entered “advanced” discussions with a number of potential Q400 combi customers.
GE Aviation’s Flight Efficiency Services division is using big data techniques to help airlines to improve their profit margins with a particular focus on reducing fuel burn. “Fuel accounts for 40 percent of airline costs with around $215 billion spent on this each year,” said general manager Giovanni Spitale. “GE thinks that if machines can talk to each other using the industrial internet [a term coined by GE] we can make better sense of that [fuel consumption].”
Messier-Bugatti-Dowty–part of Safran Group (Hall 4 Innovation Zone Stand A7), which is providing the landing gear for the Airbus A350–has signed a contract with Japan’s Kobe Steel to supply the French company with titanium forgings for the main landing gear of the Airbus A350 XWB.
Nine heavy hitters from the Lockheed Martin F-35 program fronted Tuesday’s media briefing here at Farnborough. But even three senior Pentagon officials, one Air Force general and five industry chiefs could not conjure the actual hardware–although the good news at the show yesterday was that the F-35 was given clearance to fly with “a restricted flight envelope.” The four F-35Bs slated to fly to the UK were have been grounded at NAS Patuxent River after a June 23 engine fire at Eglin AFB in Florida.
The Bauhaus Luftfahrt aerospace think-tank in May unveiled a concept for a “propulsive fuselage” aircraft, opening a new possibility for fuel burn reduction. It is part of a European Union-funded project in cooperation with a number of research centers, as well as MTU Aero Engines and Airbus Group Innovations (OE13). The latter company is also studying a hybrid-power regional airliner with Rolls-Royce (Hall 4 Stand H3). Meanwhile, it is flying a hybrid-lift quadcopter demonstrator for unmanned military and civil missions, the Quadcruiser.
Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation here on Monday announced a memorandum of understanding for 20 firm MRJ90 regional jets, with purchase rights for an additional 20 of the type, with Eastern Air Lines Group. Deliveries are scheduled to commence in 2019 and Boeing will support the aircraft.
Eastern Air Lines president and CEO Edward Wegel said the aircraft would be used on routes from the airline’s main base in Miami, Florida, to Latin America and the Caribbean. They will be operated in an 82-seat, two-class configuration, he added.
Textron’s Lycoming Engines division has found new markets for its man-rated piston engines in the unmanned aerial systems (UAS) segment. For Lycoming, which is celebrating its 85th year manufacturing aircraft engines, its participation in current UAS developments isn’t the company’s first foray into providing engines for unmanned aircraft.
The new Textron Aviation is here at Farnborough (Outdoor Exhibit L2) to show a portfolio of current production aircraft that are available in special mission configurations. The company is displaying a special mission Beechcraft King Air 350ER among other aircraft.
In March, Providence, Rhode Island-based Textron acquired the parent company of Beechcraft for $1.4 billion. It then combined Beechcraft and the former Hawker with its own Cessna Aircraft subsidiary to create Textron Aviation, offering a range of single-engine piston, turboprop and jet aircraft.