European Union government ministers meeting at the ILA air show in Berlin on Tuesday said they will back a new European Commission (EC) complaint to the World Trade Organization (WTO) over the state of Washington’s offer of $8.7 billion in financial support for Boeing’s 777X development.
Airbus Helicopters is increasing the mtow of the EC175 medium twin by 660 pounds, to 17,180 pounds, thus offering an equivalent growth in payload or an extra 40 nm in radius of action. Certification at the higher weight is expected in 2016, following a flight-test campaign scheduled for next year.
Now on a demonstration tour, the current version of the EC175 is visiting three locations serving the North Sea this week–Norwich, England; Aberdeen, Scotland; and Stavanger, Norway–all major bases for offshore oil-and-gas operations.
A contract for 30 of the new 737 Max airliners placed by an undisclosed customer on Tuesday has pushed Boeing passed 2,000 orders for the new generation narrowbody. According to the U.S. airframer, the Max has reached the 2,000-order mark faster than any other Boeing aircraft. Boeing now holds 2,010 orders from 39 customers worldwide, with a collective value of $209 billion at list prices, plus commitments for more than 250 additional aircraft.
At the ABACE show in Shanghai last month, Airbus Corporate Jets introduced a new model of its ACJ319 aimed at easing the buying process for its customers, and in its press conference yesterday the Toulouse-based manufacturer debuted the design to the European market. The derivative, known as the ACJ319 Elegance, has received strong interest from the Asian market after its launch, according to the company.
Singapore Airlines (SIA) confirmed to AIN that it has a so-called “pass over” policy under which it reserves pilot jobs on its Airbus A380 fleet almost exclusively for Singaporean citizens. The policy means that a Singaporean pilot, irrespective of his seniority number, will be preferred for A380 vacancies over expatriate colleagues.
UK carrier EasyJet said it will apply new technologies, including operating small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), to maintain its Airbus fleet. The airline is also developing 3D virtual reality and augmented reality technology, customized engineering applications and early fault prognosis. It is installing Panasonic Toughpad tablets in cockpits fleetwide.
Business aviation services group Comlux has strengthened its management team as it seeks to further differentiate itself from competitors in both the completions and refurbishment and aircraft management sectors. In an interview ahead of this week’s EBACE show, the Zurich, Switzerland-based group’s president and CEO Richard Gaona told AIN that Comlux will not be following the cost-cutting approach apparently favored by some competitors.
Comlux has increased its managed fleet to 19 jets with the addition of an Airbus ACJ318. The aircraft is based in the Middle East and will be operated by a European crew entirely for the private use of its undisclosed owner.
According to the group’s president and CEO, Richard Gaona, Comlux’s approval to operate under ETOPS 180 extended-range-over-water rules and conduct Cat IIIB approaches has been a key differentiator from rival management companies. For Airbus aircraft alone, the company has logged more than 12,000 flight hours over the past six years.
Airbus Helicopters (formerly Eurocopter) is here exhibiting the Hermès luxury version of its EC135, and is soliciting new possibilities for customization. The helicopter manufacturer (Booth 6613) is seeing a steady market in private and business aviation, with a combined 150 helicopters sold in the world last year by rotorcraft OEMs. Company design engineers are now working on the VIP version of the EC175, with hinged doors and an escalator for passengers.
In the annual announcements by Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier, Embraer and other aircraft manufacturers about the half-million or so additional pilots who will be needed to fill cockpits over the next 20 years, often overlooked is the need for an even greater number of maintenance technicians: about 600,000 by 2031, according to Boeing’s most recent forecast. So if there is already, or will soon be, a shortage of qualified pilots, is there not also a shortfall in maintenance personnel? And not just in commercial aviation but business aviation and civil helicopter operations as well?