According to Dassault, the business jet market in the Middle East is recovering thanks to “economic growth and the rise of strong regional and international operators.” The French aircraft manufacturer is seeing deliveries of Falcons pick up in the Middle East, with three Falcon 7Xs being handed over between October and this month to customers in the region. Middle East operators will take a dozen Falcons over the next 24 months, Dassault noted.
Demand for charter flights appears to be continuing its upward trend this month, but the prognosis for charter hourly rates is less encouraging on the whole. Online charter portal Avinode says its March 1 demand index is 141.15–23 points higher than last month and 30 points above a year ago.
Pre-owned business jet and turboprop inventories continued to subside in January as sales transactions increased, according to data released by market information firm JetNet. Inventory of used business jets fell to 13.7 percent in January, down by 0.9 percentage points from the year-ago period and down by 0.1 points from December. Business jet sales transactions rose 3.7 percent year-over-year, despite the fact that asking prices firmed up by 14.3 percent from January 2010.
Boeing has increased the final assembly production rate on the 787 Dreamliner from 2.5 to 3.5 per month in Everett, Washington, a Boeing spokesman Monday. The rate increase took effect on March 1.
“Elements of the supply chain are already moving toward subsequent rate breaks in the future,” said the spokesman.
Swiss aerospace firm Ruag has agreed to partner with E Aviation on the management of its FBO at Lugano Airport. Ruag’s strong aircraft maintenance background and its experience with its FBO in Geneva will allow the Lugano FBO to offer products from passenger and crew services to technical assistance and line maintenance. The two companies believe that Lugano will become the business aviation hub for northern Italy and Italian-speaking Switzerland.
Toulouse, France-based regional turboprop manufacturer ATR is pressing ahead with plans to increase its production rate progressively over the next three years while preparing to add a larger, 90-seat model to its product line, which now consists of the 50-seat ATR 42-600 and 74-seat ATR 72-600.
Export Development Canada (EDC) has agreed to defer $16.6 million worth of loan payments for the fleet of Bombardier Q400 turboprops operated by Pinnacle Airlines subsidiary Colgan Air, a Pinnacle filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission revealed in late January. According to the document, the EDC agreed to defer payments and withhold any “enforcement action” from January 14 through March 31.
The FAA has issued what could be an expensive tail-boom inspection airworthiness directive for the more than 100 Eurocopter EC130B4s in service in the U.S., most of them with air-tour operators. The AD mandates inspections for cracks in the region where the tail boom meets the fenestron assembly. If cracks are found the boom must be replaced at an estimated cost of $64,250 per helicopter.
Eurocopter has clarified the EC175 certification status, having apparently changed plans. The new medium twin is “on time” for full certification late this year. At one point, Eurocopter was planning a basic type certification late last year, followed by offshore mission equipment certification this year. The company has decided to combine the certifications.
Organizers of the annual Aircraft Interiors Expo are gearing up for this year’s show in Hamburg, Germany, from March 27 to 29. They already have a roster of more than 500 exhibitors–aircraft manufacturers, cabin completion centers, vendors and suppliers. While the primary focus is on airline interiors, numerous companies exhibiting are equally well known in the business-aviation interiors industry, and the new technology introduced is frequently applicable as well to business and private jet cabins.