CEO Kurt Robinson said he is focusing on keeping his family’s helicopter company “lean and mean to provide a good product at a competitive price” to bring value to its customers. “We’re going to keep our pencils sharpened,” he told AIN. Robinson Helicopter posted another strong year in 2013, producing 523 helicopters, up from 517 in 2012 and a long climb from the 2010 rate of 162. As was the case in 2012, the piston-powered R44 continues to be the top seller, with 289 produced in 2013; but the $839,000 turbine-single R66, with 192 already delivered, remains the company cash cow.
The European Commission on Thursday adopted new guidelines for limiting state aid to regional airports and airlines, a move the EC claims will reduce competitive distortion by discouraging overcapacity at small, unprofitable facilities.
For the first time since 2008, worldwide deliveries of business jets were higher than the previous year, according to 2013 year-end numbers released yesterday by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA). Airframers handed over 678 business jets last year, six more than in 2012.
UK regional airline Flybe has raised almost $260 million in fresh capital through a share flotation launched February 20 in London. The company, which has been battling to rebuild its business model with an aggressive program of cost cutting, is issuing a total of up to 141.5 million new shares to raise £155.6 million. The offer price on February 20 was 110p per share, representing a 7.2-percent discount on the stock’s 118.5p mid-market price on February 19.
The UK CAA unveiled a series of stringent measures today as a result of a review it launched last September to improve the safety of helicopter operations in the North Sea. These changes are expected to improve survivability after a ditching.
Business aircraft movements in Europe increased by 1.9 percent last month, marking the first time since 2008 that there has been year-over-year growth in the month of January, according to data from WingX Advance. Flight hours flown by business aircraft in Europe last month also rose by 4 percent, to 69,700 hours. It said January was also the first month since 2012 to record gains in both private and charter flights in Europe. This is the third consecutive month showing growth in private flights in the region, WingX noted.
Dassault Falcon recently delivered its first Falcon 2000S in Brazil following certification by ANAC, Brazil’s aviation regulatory authority, late last year. “The Falcon 2000S is a terrific option for customers in Brazil and elsewhere in South America,” said Dassault Falcon president and CEO John Rosanvallon.
Air Charter Service, a UK-based aircraft charter broker with 16 offices worldwide, contracted nearly 7,500 charter flights during its fiscal year ending January 31–a 14-percent increase over its 2012 fiscal year. “We have seen constant year-on-year growth for several years, but this is one of the largest single jumps in charter numbers that we’ve ever had,” said managing director Ruan Courtney. “On average, we book a charter every 70 minutes and that’s because most charter contracts consist of more than one flight sector.
Loss-making Kuwait Airways has placed its first order for new aircraft in 20 years with a conversion of a commitment covering 10 A350-900s and 15 A320neos worth some $4.5 billion at list prices. The state-owned airline expects first delivery of the new airplanes in 2019. It now operates three A320s, three A310s, five A300s and four A340s.
The first robot built for Airbus’s Futurassy research and technology project arrived at the airframer’s Puerto Real plant in Cadiz, Spain, this week. The riveting unit, built by Japan’s Kawada, will help Airbus machinists assemble A380 rudder spars.