With a big, self-contained display outside Hall A here, Gripen International signals its determination to compete in Asia. And elsewhere, of course. Sales and marketing director Bob Kemp told journalists here this week that he expects the Swedish fighter to gain 200 export orders over the next 10 years–just under 10 percent of his estimate for the total combat aircraft market.
Saab Aircraft Leasing (Chalet C24-26) here on Monday announced that Australian regional airline Regional Express (Rex) has taken an additional Saab 340B on a four-year lease. Rex is also extending its existing lease contracts–two dozen Saab A340s–for another four years. The Sterling, Virginia-based company has inked 15 transactions since the beginning of the year.
Saab Aerostructures (Chalet C24-26) has signed a contract with Airbus to develop and produce cheaper ailerons for the A320 family. An improved design will shorten the manufacturing process, ultimately reducing costs.
The NTSB yesterday asked the FAA to attend immediately to what it deemed deficiencies in the cold-weather procedures of Saab 340 pilots and the airplanes’ performance in icing conditions. The recommendations came after a review of several icing episodes in Australia and the January 2 incident in which icing forced an American Eagle Saab 340BPlus into an uncontrolled descent for 5,000 feet over Southern California.
The Gripen team occupies the high ground at the Farnborough show this year in a new prime-site chalet and with the Swedish fighter flying a daily solo routine. Meanwhile, seven Swedish Air Force Gripen fighters flew to Alaska this past weekend to participate in their first “Red Flag” exercise. In practical terms, that deployment will demonstrate more about the Gripen’s capability and prospects than the marketing effort going on here.
This year’s ERA Airline of the Year gold award went to two-time runner-up Eastern Airways. While noting the carrier’s “dynamic approach to industry lobbying,” judges lauded the UK regional’s ability to survive powerful competition through “courage, creativity and persistence,” as well as marketing and operational and technical commitment.
Regional airlines in Europe last month lodged a formal protest alleging that civil servants had misrepresented legislation about passenger compensation for canceled or delayed flights. The European Regions Airline Association (ERA) has filed a complaint with the European Ombudsman in an attempt to prevent administrators from encouraging ungrounded expectations through misinformation released to the public and media.
Apparently done pouring 50-seat jet capacity into a system overflowing with Embraer 145s, Continental Airlines continues to explore the possibility of adding more turboprops to its network, according to Continental managing director of scheduling and planning Karen Zachary.
As the industry gathers in Gothenburg for this year’s general assembly, the ERA will certainly lament the absence of one of its stalwart airline members from Scandinavia–even if its passengers have taken little notice.
Antonov: An-148–The only aircraft program ever launched in the former Soviet Union without direct public funding continues its march toward CIS AP-25 certification, scheduled for next April.