The German Ministry of Defence abruptly canceled plans to introduce a fleet of five Northrop Grumman RQ-4E Euro Hawk UAVs for high-altitude Sigint collection. The first aircraft, delivered in July 2011, was already flying on development tasks from Manching airbase near Munich. According to German media reports, the country has already spent €508 million of the planned €1.2 billion (in 2012 prices) to acquire the fleet, which was intended to replace aging Atlantic manned twin turboprops.
India’s Ministry of Defense has issued a request for proposal (RFP) for the procurement of 56 transport aircraft to replace the air force’s aging fleet of around 30 Avro 748Ms. In a bid to launch an indigenous private defense manufacturing capability, this is the first time an RFP states that the Indian Production Agency (IPA) will be a private company. This leaves out Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL), which has until now held a monopoly in defense programs. The last date for submission of bids is October 8.
Earlier this year Gestair (Booth 755) opened a new FBO facility in the former authorities pavilion at Madrid-Barajas airport, which is where all the Spanish capital’s business aviation traffic is now directed. Previously those flights had operated into Torrejón air base, but that operation has been closed down. Gestair, with 35 years experience providing business aviation services, won the initial five-year contract from AENA (Spanish airports and air navigation authority) to manage the Barajas executive terminal.
During an EBACE interview, Daher-Socata (Booth 1643) airplane division senior v-p Nicolas Chabbert told AIN that none of the company’s design engineers is currently working on its new twin project (NTX) that it has been considering since 2008. “The NTX project is in standby mode,” he said. At least, the Tarbes, France-based manufacturer of the single-engine TBM 850 turboprop knows where its main competitors stand. Pilatus has just unveiled a light twinjet, the PC-24, and Beechcraft now offers a turboprop-only lineup.
Bombardier has selected Lufthansa Technik’s nice HD cabin management and in-flight entertainment system for its upgraded Challenger 350, thus adding audio and video on-demand distribution to personal devices.
Lufthansa Technik said that its nice HD system has a flexible, open IP architecture, based on a wired and wireless broadband Ethernet network. The bottom line in the Challenger 350 will be that each passenger can watch individually chosen movies on an Apple, Android or Windows 8 device and also push content from the device to an embedded display.
According to charter broker Air Partner, Conklin & de Decker released research during EBACE 2013 indicating that the use of charter jet cards is on the rise in Europe. The report assesses the jet card products offered by NetJets Europe (Booth 7011) and Air Partner across six key criteria: accessible service areas; notice period; aircraft choice; pricing; flexibility; and quality assurance, service and safety.
Inflight Executive Jet Centre at Stansted Airport in London has appointed Steve Grimes as its new managing director. Grimes is assigned the mission of expanding business for Inflight’s FBO and its maintenance shop.
“I am looking forward to growing the business in both areas,” said Grimes, “which could mean expanding with new locations for both operations and maintenance.” Inflight also said its growth strategy includes expanding into aircraft completions and interior refurbishment.
Gore Design Completions of San Antonio, a seasoned and major player in the cabin completion and refurbishment industry, has been sold to MAZ Aviation, a Middle East aviation consulting firm based in the Saudi capital, Riyadh.
Daher-Socata’s NTX project, a new twin the company has been considering since 2008, “is in standby mode,” airplane division senior v-p Nicolas Chabbert told AIN this week at EBACE.
AIN understands that Daher-Socata has considered both a twin turboprop and a twinjet under the NTX project banner. Without referring specifically to one option or the other, Chabbert said Daher-Socata is not excluding any possibility. However, the company has already ruled out resurrecting the Grob SPn program after some in-depth evaluations, including flight tests of the SPn prototype.
“The HondaJet program is steadily progressing toward certification and first delivery,” Honda Aircraft president and CEO Michimasa Fujino said this week at EBACE. As previously reported, FAA type certification of the light jet has been delayed by a year to late next year, primarily due to delays in certifying its GE Honda Aero HF120 engines. EASA certification is scheduled to follow in mid-2015.