A joint venture between Air China and Lufthansa has produced one of the world’s largest MRO facilities. The 414,400-sq-ft maintenance hangar provides sufficient space to work on as many as four Airbus A380s at a time. In addition to supporting Air China’s growing fleet, it will also serve private aircraft arriving at the new Terminal 3 at Beijing’s Capital International Airport, built to support this year’s Olympics.
European aerospace consortium EADS is believed to be close to selling its Tarbes, France-based Socata subsidiary–the manufacturer of the TBM 850 turboprop single–to Daher, an aerospace, defense, nuclear and automotive group headquartered in Wissous, France.
According to several newspaper reports, European aerospace consortium EADS is close to selling its Tarbes, France-based Socata division to Daher, an aerospace, defense, nuclear and automotive group headquartered in Wissous, France. An industry source close to the deal told AIN that Daher has completed the due diligence process, with the sale apparently hinging on Airbus awarding a contract for A350 work to Socata.
As a district court in Weilheim, Germany, opened insolvency proceedings against Fairchild Dornier on July 1, the fate of the Bavarian regional jet builder hung on the fading hope that a large established aerospace company might come to its rescue.
The first Airbus A400M airlifter is set to be rolled out from the final assembly line at Seville, Spain, in June, but it won’t make its first flight until at least September. The program is now running more than six months late due to developmental delays with the large TP400 turboprop engines. The first flight of a TP400 on a C-130 testbed at Marshall Aerospace’s Cambridge, UK airfield has been delayed again until next month.
UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicholas Sarkozy reached some significant–though little noticed–defense arrangements when they met in London late last month. The two countries agreed to seek a single joint contract for the in-service support of the Airbus A400M airlifters that both have ordered. If achieved, this will be the first such arrangement ever concluded.
The intense debate over the U.S. Air Force’s choice of a new tanker continues. Boeing claimed that the KC-767 was found to be “more survivable” than the Airbus A330 multi-role tanker transport (MRTT) in the USAF evaluation. Northrop Grumman launched a new Web site to refute various allegations about its A330MRTT bid and ask why Boeing did not raise concerns about the selection process earlier.
Airbus in late February successfully tested an emissions-free fuel cell in flight. The hydrogen- and oxygen-based fuel cell system generated up to 20 kilowatts of electrical power on an A320 test aircraft, and the output was used to power the aircraft’s electric motor pump for the back-up hydraulic circuit that operates the aircraft’s ailerons.
Despite the continuing economic downturn and the aftereffects of September 11, the number of turbine business airplanes delivered last year surpassed the tally for 2000. According to figures compiled by AIN and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, airframers worldwide delivered 790 business jets and 332 business turboprops last year, compared with 758 jets and 267 turboprops in 2000.
Boeing is formally protesting the U.S. Air Force’s “surprise decision” in favor of the Northrop Grumman/EADS Airbus A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) for the KC-X tanker requirement. According to the Air Force, the keenly fought award is worth $35 billion for up to 179 KC-45As–the new, officially approved designation.