The General Assembly of the European Regions Airline Association (ERA) took place in Salzburg last week with a mixed picture of how airlines are managing, particularly with continued pressure from low-cost-carrier growth and regulatory burdens. In the ERA’s view, Europe has a major problem with central politicians who seem unable to understand the value of regional aviation that local politicians in its many outer regions have little problem appreciating.
Bombardier has appointed Canada’s Flying Colours to handle an extensive interior modification of seven Bombardier CRJ700 NextGen aircraft for an undisclosed Chinese customer. The work will be conducted over a two-year period and part of the new-look cabins will be fitted out for VIP use.
A flurry of commercial announcements in the regional- and small-narrowbody aircraft sectors came across the wires last week, led by a firm order on Thursday for 10 Bombardier CSeries CS300s from Latvian carrier airBaltic. The deal, potentially worth $1.57 billion at list prices, included so-called purchase rights on 10 more of the airplanes and represented a conversion of a letter of intent signed at this year’s Farnborough International airshow.
Just two weeks after beginning the flight-test campaign for its Legacy 500 midsize business jet, Embraer’s executive jets division arrived at MEBA 2012 with a string of other important milestones behind it.
Russia was a priority for Bombardier long before it dispatched Q400 C-GLKU on a worldwide tour. Now, with issuance of Russian certification of the high-speed turboprop on June 6, Bombardier redoubled its marketing efforts in the promising market, sending the Q400 demonstrator to Moscow, Saratov, Kazan, Tyumen, Yekaterinburg, Kemerovo, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Yakutsk, Magadan and Anadyr from May 21 to June 9. Over the next 20 years, the Canadian manufacturer expects Russia to need some 200 large turboprops and, as of now, Bombardier builds the biggest and fastest, albeit also the most expensive.
ATR announced more than $600 million worth of firm orders at the show yesterday, led by an eight-unit deal with Taiwan’s TransAsia for ATR 72-600s. Meanwhile, the Franco-Italian manufacturer logged a separate pair of orders, each for two ATR 72-600s, from Air Lease Corporation and Lao Airlines.
ATR’s 50-seat 42-600 turboprop was certificated by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) late last month, bringing to fruition a test campaign that saw the larger, 70-seat ATR 72-600 gain certification in May last year. The aircraft have been updated with glass cockpits and modern avionics systems along with other refinements, including the Armonia cabin designed by Italian car designer Giugiaro.
Bombardier’s Q400 became the largest Western-manufactured turboprop aircraft to gain approval to operate in Russia and the CIS last month, when the Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC)–commonly known by its Russian acronym, MAK–awarded the airplane AP-25 type certification.
BAE Systems Regional Aircraft plans to extend its contract engineering work this year, raising the proportion of such revenues coming from third parties outside the BAE group to 92 percent. “The proportion has grown from 35 percent in 2010,” according to managing director Alan Fraser. “We have reshaped our engineering business and geared it for growth. [Our] skills, expertise and aircraft-design capability are [generating] a steady flow of new business.”
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