Regional turboprop manufacturer ATR saw orders and deliveries grow again last year, reaching record levels and steady profitability, but it has not convinced shareholders Airbus Group and Finmeccanica to launch a new aircraft.
After a slight slump in November, business aircraft activity last month climbed 5.1 percent year-over-year, according to the latest TraqPak data from aviation services company Argus. Numbers were positive nearly across the board, hopefully positioning business aircraft flying off to a good start for this year.
Quest Aircraft recently delivered three Kodiak turboprop singles to TAME EP Airlines in Ecuador, the Sandpoint, Idaho company announced yesterday. The aircraft will be used for passenger transport and eco-tourism, in conjunction with the Ecuadorian Amazon Connectivity Project, an initiative of the Ecuadorian government to offer reliable transportation to and from remote areas of the country. With these latest deliveries, the Kodiak is now approved in 14 countries, said Quest, which expects more new certifications this year.
Cutter Aviation’s Phoenix facility has been selected by Beechcraft as an authorized service center (ASC) for the Beechjet/Hawker 400XP series. Cutter became an ASC for the King Air turboprop line and Beechcraft’s piston-powered Bonanza and Baron earlier this year. Cutter also holds ASC status for the Baron and Bonanza in Addison, Texas, and for the King Airs and piston aircraft at its Albuquerque, N.M. facility. Beechcraft is supporting its jet lines, even though they are out of production.
The world’s economy, for the most part, is slowly and steadily improving, but that has not yet provided the general aviation industry with a shot in the arm. During the past year only two clean-sheet jet designs were formally unveiled–the Pilatus PC-24 and Dassault Falcon 5X–but these were known to be under way for many years before this year’s public program launches.
Friday’s market chatter that Textron is set to acquire Beechcraft had still drawn no official comment either party as of press time. A December 20 report in the Financial Times citing only “people familiar with the matter” was enough to drive Textron’s share price up on Wall Street by almost 15 percent at one point to close at $37.29 by the end of the day.
Ethiopian Airlines reinforced its commitment to Bombardier and its Q400 turboprop here yesterday with a contract to become an authorized service facility for the big prop jet and a commitment to take another four of the airplanes on lease from Palma Holding. Palma has signed a letter of intent with Bombardier covering a firm order for the four airplanes and options on another four. With the deal, Palma stands to become the first Middle East lessor for Q400s and the first lessor worldwide for the aircraft in a dual-class configuration. \
Quest Aircraft’s Kodiak turboprop single received certification from Venezuela’s civil aviation authority, the Instituto Nacional de Aviación Civil. The Kodiak is now certified in 13 countries, with more new approvals expected by year-end, the company said. The first Venezuelan customer will be taking delivery in the next few days, Quest said. He plans to operate the aircraft, which is equipped with the external cargo compartment option and features the Timberline interior, for personal and business use.
Nextant Aerospace (Chalet B17) has big expectations for the Indian market for its 400XTi light jet and C90XT twin turboprop, which are respectively remanufactured Beechjet 400A/400XPs and King Air C90s. In fact, India has the largest entry-level jet fleet in Asia–17 percent of the $1.7 billion market–while deliveries in this segment have doubled over the past five years.
The flight-test of an experimental technology called Avoid, an infrared camera capable of detecting ash cloud particles before an aircraft might encounter them, has proved successful. Volcanic ash from Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano grounded aviation across much of northern Europe for a week in 2010.