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Flight International - 9 - 15 January 2018

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Ship-scrape
How hydraulic
failure on 767
developed into
bigger problem
and a gear-up
touch-down 13
On target
Qatar confirms
F-15 contract,
as its spending
spree adds
third type to
fighter fleet 17
9-15 January 2018
Power play
Cessna?s Denali
keeps schedule
for debut flight
this year after
GE advances
engine tests 20
flightglobal.com
ALLIANCE
Going
Boeing?
Why Seattle wants to join
regional forces with Embraer
ISSN 0 0 1 5 - 3 7 1 0
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0 2
9
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CONTENTS
Volume 193 Number 5618
9-15 JANUARY 2018
NEWS
How hydraulic
failure on 767
developed into
bigger problem
and a gear-up
touch-down 13
On target
Qatar confirms
F-15 contract,
as its spending
spree adds
third type to
fighter fleet 17
9-15 January 2018
THIS WEEK
8 FlyViking conquest falters as fleet issues
scupper start-up
9 Nigeria moves closer to Super Tucano acquisition.
Data reveals another year of safety for airline
passengers
Power play
Cessna?s Denali
keeps schedule
for debut flight
this year after
GE advances
engine tests 20
flightglobal.com
ALLIANCE
Going
Boeing?
ISSN 0 0 1 5 - 3 7 1 0
�80
0 2
9
FIN_090118_301.indd 1
770015 371303
AirTeamImages
Why Seattle wants to join
regional forces with Embraer
04/01/2018 09:30
COVER IMAGE
Philippe Noret captured
this striking shot of the
first E195-E2 prototype
for AirTeamImages at the
Paris air show last June.
Boeing has set its sights
on the regional jet P6
AIR TRANSPORT
10 IAG swoops to acquire assets from Niki.
CSeries receives boost with EgyptAir contract
11 Qatar stretches its acceptance target for first
A350-1000.
Testing time as China eyes propulsion Leap
12 Ilyushin updates get Moscow funding.
MRJ programme gains new management arm
13 Poor response heightened LOT scrape
NEWS FOCUS
15 A busy year for arrivals and departures
DEFENCE
16 Single engine failure grounds one-third of US
JSTARS fleet.
KC-46A clears first certification step.
Kabul targets ?Eliminator? deal with Orbital ATK
17 Caracal dispute rumbles on in Warsaw.
Fourth-quarter recovery helps F-35
programme to strike delivery target
18 Upgrades boost Super Hornet?s sting
19 Tejas Mk1A edges closer, as HAL bids for
83-unit contract.
France takes delivery of initial C-130J transport
BUSINESS AVIATION
20 Advanced test run puts Denali on track.
Piaggio unveils new vision for Avanti Evo-lution
BEHIND THE HEADLINES
Murdo Morrison (pictured)
visited Airbus Helicopters?
final assembly facility in
Brasov for part of our
Romania country special
package (P27). He also
took in stops with industry
in Bacau and Bucharest
GENERAL AVIATION
21 Wanfeng to polish Diamond after buy-out.
CanWest takes delivery of customised King Air
Airbus seeks arbitration in Polish Caracal row P17
COVER STORY
6 Boeing eyes E-Jet to counter Airbus move
for CSeries
FEATURES
27 SPECIAL REPORT Romania on the rise
Romania may not have had the aerospace
muscle of neighbours Poland and
Czechoslovakia during the Cold War, but from
the 1950s it was a sizeable player in both
rotorcraft and military maintenance, repair and
overhaul. Following the fall of communism the
industry has grown, thanks mainly to Airbus
investment and local champion Aerostar. We visit
Romania?s two aerospace hubs, as well as its
leading independent airline, to discover what the
prospects are for the nation?s industry
REGULARS
5Comment
35 Straight & Level
36Letters
39Classified
41Jobs
43 Working Week
NEXT WEEK EMISSIONS
In our environment special
report, we look at some of
the main challenges facing
aviation?s reform agenda
Diamond Aircraft, Airbus
ImageBroker/REX/Shutterstock
DATA VIEW
22 Driven by Dubai
Anthony Pecchi/Airbus Helicopters
Ship-scrape
Wanfeng Aviation acquires Diamond Aircraft P21. Qatar agrees new target for A350-1000 delivery P11
Download the 2017 Commercial Engines Report
now with updated enhanced data and in-depth market analysis
flightglobal.com/commengines
CFM 2017 strip ad.indd 1
flightglobal.com
15/06/2017 08:52
9-15 January 2018 | Flight International | 3
19/07/2012 17:51
CONTENTS
Image of
the week
The Indian air force has
passed a combined 12,000
flying hours using its
10-strong fleet of Boeing
C-17 strategic transports. In
operational use since 2014,
the type is flown by the
service?s 81 Sqn ? named
the ?Skylords?. India has
the second largest C-17
fleet, after the US Air Force
View more great aviation
shots online and in our
weekly tablet edition:
Boeing
flightglobal.com/
flight-international
The week in numbers
Question of the week
90%
Last week, we asked: Future of the A380? You said:
GE
Total votes:
GE is boosting from 70% its share of Swedish 3D printing
machines maker Arcam, and later will buy the final 10%
$636k
46%
Secure for
another decade
1,340 votes
Five years at best
1,094 votes
Public Safety Canada
Government cash will help Canada?s Civil Air Search and
Rescue Association deliver recreational pilot safety training
21
2,913
Flight Dashboard
With new slimline seats, United is set to accomodate another
21 passengers in its 757-300s, lifting economy density to 210
16%
38%
Management
jumping ship
479 votes
This week, we ask: A Boeing/Embraer tie-up?
? Match made in heaven ? Only on commercial jets
? Bad for both sides
Vote at flightglobal.com
FlightGlobal?s premium news and data service delivers breaking air transport stories with
profiles, schedules, and fleet, financial and traffic information flightglobal.com/dashboard
Download the Military
Simulator Census online now.
CAE ? Your worldwide training partner of choice
4 | Flight International | 9-15 January 2018
www.flightglobal.com/milisim
flightglobal.com
COMMENT
A combina玢o
While there are still many obstacles to a union of whatever kind between Boeing and Embraer,
the potential benefits for both airframers are too large for either party to ignore indefinitely
combination of Boeing and Embraer would make a
powerful team in commercial aviation, deepen a
potentially disruptive alliance with Saab in the defence
market, and could upset the business aviation status quo.
It remains unclear what level of combination is
under discussion after the two parties acknowledged
ongoing discussions on 21 December.
But it is already obvious that both companies have
much to gain from a well-managed partnership of any
kind, and little to lose.
On the surface, Embraer seems well-positioned as
the world?s third-largest aircraft manufacturer, with a
broad portfolio of positions in commercial, defence
and business aviation.
But the manufacturer is entering a critical period.
The E190-E2 and the KC-390 are set to enter service later
this year, but are yet to gain significant order traction,
despite impressive potential. Unless new deals materialise soon, it could be years before deliveries of the E2
family match the annual pace of 90-100 set by the original E-Jets. And the KC-390 still has to prove it can compete with the Lockheed Martin C-130J. A partnership
with Boeing could provide a serious boost for both jets.
It is already obvious that both
companies have much to gain
from a well-managed partnership
Boeing also has much to gain from a commercial alliance with Embraer. First, the Seattle airframer obtains a
product to compete with the pending joint venture between Airbus and Bombardier on the CSeries. But Boeing also has ambitious cost targets to meet in order to
deliver a competitive new mid-market airplane in the
Embraer
A
Pioneering
mid-2020s. Embraer has 4,000 engineers on the payroll
with no obvious new projects after the E175-E2 arrives
in 2021. The timing works perfectly for both companies.
The defence sector ? a sensitive area for the Brazilian
air force ? also offers opportunities beyond the KC-390.
Embraer and Boeing are involved in separate projects
with Saab to develop new aircraft ? Brazil?s Gripen E/F
fighter and a T-X trainer candidate for the US Air Force.
By deepening the relationship between the three companies, Boeing would command a formidable alliance
of top engineering talent and low-cost manufacturing.
Even the business jet market creates some intriguing
possibilities, especially in light of Embraer?s acknowledged lack of an ultra-long-range, large-cabin product.
Many obstacles remain to completing a deal between
Boeing and Embraer, with the Brazilian government?s
golden share a potentially insurmountable hurdle.
But the opportunities on both sides are too big to ignore forever. ?
See This Week P6-7
Spooling up
B
Keep up to date with the latest
news and analysis from the
commercial aviation industry:
flightglobal.com/dashboard
flightglobal.com
y rolling out the first locally designed high-bypass
turbofan on 29 December, China joined one of the
most exclusive clubs in the global aerospace industry.
Only four countries ? Japan, Russia, the UK and the
USA ? have high-bypass turbofan engines in production. In four or five years, China?s CJ-1000A engine for
the Comac C919 is expected to join them.
First impressions are not always reliable, but the
瑿J-1000AX demonstrator looks impressive. It has nearly the same fan diameter as CFM International?s stateof-the-art Leap-1C engine for the C919, which implies a
similar 11:1 bypass ratio. The Chinese powerplant also
uses several advanced technologies, including hollow
titanium fan blades and 3D-printed fuel nozzles.
Much still remains unknown about the CJ-1000A,
including how China manages the metal-melting temperatures inside a modern gas turbine.
After delivering a large regional jet, rolling out a new
single-aisle and partnering with Russia to develop a
widebody, the unveiling of the first fully assembled
high-bypass turbofan marks another major step in China?s slow emergence as a global aerospace competitor.
Its next challenge is betrayed in the long list of European and US suppliers signed on to each of those OEMlevel projects. To truly become a global peer of the West
in aviation, China must develop a globally competitive
cadre of tier one systems suppliers. ?
See Air Transport P11
9-15 January 2018 | Flight International | 5
THIS WEEK
BRIEFING
INDIGO FINALISES MAJOR NEO ORDER
FLEETS Private equity firm Indigo Partners has finalised a 430unit order for Airbus A320neo-family aircraft announced at the
Dubai air show last November and worth $49.5 billion at list
prices. A combined 274 A320neos and 156 A321neos will be
acquired, with engines yet to be selected. The aircraft will be
fielded by Denver-based Frontier Airlines (134) and Chile?s
JetSmart (70) ? both owned by Indigo ? and low-cost carriers
Volaris (80) and Wizz Air (146), in which it is an investor.
AVIC STARTS PRODUCTION OF MA700
MANUFACTURING AVIC Aircraft says its MA700 turboprop
programme has progressed, with component manufacturing
having started for its cargo door and flaps. Its target is for a first
flight in November 2019 and Chinese certification by 2021.
Powered by Pratt & Whitney Canada PW150C engines and with
a capacity for up to 86 passengers, the type will have a range of
1,460nm (2,700km).
BOMBARDIER ADDS TO CRJ BACKLOG
PURCHASE Bombardier has secured a firm, six-unit CRJ900
order from an undisclosed customer, taking its all-time sales of
CRJ-series regional jets to 1,918 units. The same operator has
taken options on another six CRJ900s, which Bombardier says
would increase the value of the deal to about $580 million at
list爌rices.
IAI SEEKS NEW CHIEF EXECUTIVE
LEADERSHIP Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is to seek a new
chief executive, after announcing that incumbent Joseph Weiss
will step down once a replacement has been identified and ?an
orderly succession process has taken place?. Weiss held managerial positions at IAI for two decades and was named chief executive in 2012. He is nearing retirement age.
VIETJET STRETCHES OUT WITH UPGAUGING
ACQUISITION VietJet Air has converted its entire orderbook
for the A320neo to the larger A321neo. The carrier announced
the shift following the delivery of its first Pratt & Whitney
PW1100G-powered A321neo in late December. Configured
with 230 seats, this is part of an order for 73 A321neos and 11
A321s. VietJet also will take 100 Boeing 737 Max 8-200s.
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STRATEGY STEPHEN TRIMBLE WASHINGTON DC
Boeing eyes E-Jet
to counter Airbus
move for CSeries
Commercial aerospace is key driver for talks with Brazilian
firm, but defence and business aviation are also tempting
E
leven years after the 106-seat
Boeing 717 met a perhaps untimely demise, Boeing is back in
pursuit of the commercial aircraft
market below 126 seats, revealing
on 21 December talks with Brazilian manufacturer Embraer on a
potential ?combination?.
Any deal with one of the jewels
of Brazilian industry will need the
support of the government in Brasilia, however, which has a golden
share in the privatised company.
President Michel Temer has
already stated that ?under my
government, Embraer will not be
sold? after a meeting with defence minister Raul Jungmann.
However, Brasilia has indicated
that it is open to associations between the two airframers that stop
short of a full transfer of control.
This would open the door to a
wide range of possible transactions, from the sale of elements of
Embraer?s business to a joint venture related to the E-Jet regional jet
family, not unlike the pending
agreement between Airbus and
Bombardier, which will give the
former control of the CSeries.
That surprise agreement announced by Airbus last October
was probably the catalyst for Boeing?s current talks with Embraer.
In the logic of a market duopoly,
Boeing cannot allow its rival?s
proposed acquisition of a new
family of aircraft ranging from
108-147 seats go unanswered.
A new clean-sheet development project for a sub-150-seat
aircraft family does not appear to
rank high on Boeing?s priority list,
so acquiring Embraer?s firm grasp
on that market with the E-Jet family makes an attractive option.
The US airframer?s interest in
Embraer, however, long pre-dates
the proposed Airbus acquisition
of the CSeries joint venture.
In 2012, Embraer and Boeing
agreed to collaborate in several
areas. At the time, Boeing?s inter-
?POSSIBLE COMBINATION? COULD UNLOCK VALUE
NATO DEAL IS SWEET MUSIC FOR ELBIT
TANKERS Elbit Systems has been awarded $46 million to
equip NATO?s future pooled fleet of Airbus A330 tankers with
its J-Music directional infrared countermeasures system. The
deal will provide self-protection turrets for installation on the
potentially 11 A330s to be acquired via the multinational multirole tanker transport project. Elbit says its award covers work to
be performed over a four-year period.
DELIVERIES Sukhoi Civil Aircraft manufactured 34 Superjet
100s during 2017 ? the largest number to roll off the company?s
production line in a single year. Thirty aircraft were transferred
to customers including Aeroflot, CityJet, Interjet and Yakutia.
Sukhoi has to date produced more than 150 of the twinjets.
See Air Transport P10
6 | Flight International | 9-15 January 2018
BillyPix
SUPERJET HITS PRODUCTION HIGH
Embraer has accumulated 285 orders across the three E2 variants
flightglobal.com
THIS WEEK
FlyViking conquest
falters as fleet issues
scupper start-up
This Week P8
est seemed driven by a chance to
sell F/A-18E/F Super Hornets to
the Brazilian air force. But even
after the government selected the
Saab Gripen a year later, the partnership between Boeing and Embraer continued and deepened.
For example, Boeing agreed to
provide technical, marketing and
sales support for the KC-390, a tactical transport and tanker that
competes with the Lockheed Martin C-130J. Boeing also agreed to
help Embraer with weapons integration on the A-29 Super Tucano,
a light-attack turboprop under
consideration by the US Air Force.
In the commercial aircraft market,
the relationship between the companies is already stronger. In 2012,
Embraer and Boeing agreed to
jointly develop a runway situation
awareness tool to improve operational safety for the aircraft families of both companies. The two
also collaborated on developing
Brazilian-sourced biofuels to use
as a renewable aviation fuel.
More recently, Boeing has selected an Embraer-owned E170
flying testbed as its new ecoDemonstrator aircraft, which is
used to evaluate five emerging
technologies designed to improve fuel efficiency or safety.
However, the pair still have significant differences. Boeing has
interests in the corporate aviation
market, through its Boeing
Little detail on the proposals has
emerged since the talks on the
?possible combination? were
announced. However, Ozires
Silva, Embraer?s first president,
says in an interview with Brazil?s
Valor newspaper that the deal
stops short of a full takeover.
Silva says the company?s leadership has asked him to review
Boeing?s proposal and comment; while not disclosing details
of the approach, he says the deal
could be beneficial to the shareholders of both airframers. In
general terms, Embraer would
gain access to Boeing?s lucrative
flightglobal.com
Embraer
STRONG RELATIONSHIP
Embraer has a number of development programmes on its books, but needs to gain order momentum
璾siness Jets division offering
B
commercial jet derivatives, but no
aircraft type devoted solely to that
segment ? whereas Embraer has
developed two families of cleansheet executive jets, along with
the E-Jet-based Lineage 1000E.
In the commercial market, an
acquisition involving the E-Jet E2
family could also put Boeing in
an awkward position with some
customers. In 2011, Mitsubishi
Aircraft selected Boeing to be the
global supplier for support services for the Mitsubishi Regional
Jet, an aircraft aimed squarely at
the 76-seat E175 and E175-E2.
commercial aircraft p
� roducts in
the 250-350-seat category, while
Boeing would benefit from its
potential partner?s portfolio of
CSeries-competing small narrowbody aircraft.
There are merits to both the
CSeries and E-Jet E2 families,
and both manufacturers insist
their aircraft have superior economics. But Bombardier has
more orders: Flight Fleets
Analyzer records 372 combined
orders for the in-service CS100/
CS300, while Embraer has a total
of 285 firm orders across its three
developmental E2 variants.
But the biggest obstacle to consummating any ?combination?
between Boeing and Embraer remains the Brazilian government.
VETO POWER
The Brazilian air force created
Embraer in 1969 as a state-owned
company. The government agreed
to privatise Embraer in 1994, but
retained a golden share with veto
power over any proposal that
would transfer control of the company to a new owner. The Brazilian air force remains deeply invested in Embraer?s activity,
having financed development of
Orders for the latter are likely
to rise this year, though, as the
E190-E2 makes its commercial
debut with Norwegian carrier
Wider鴈 in the second quarter.
Embraer also has a large installed base of its current-generation E-Jets. The 1,400th was
delivered in December 2017,
with another 141 on order. But it
is worth noting it took the firm
13 years to hit that number.
Embraer forecasts a requirement of 6,400 aircraft with 70130 seats over the next 20 years,
while Bombardier predicts a
market for 6,800 jets with 100-
the KC-390 and assigned it to participate with Saab in developing
the Gripen E/F fighter.
But Boeing seems to have decided it can no longer afford to ignore the sub-150-seat commercial
market. The 717 was allowed to
expire after a seven-year run in
2006. In that same year, Boeing
delivered the last 737-600. The
company has not secured a major
new customer for the 138-seat 737
Max 7 in four years. Now Boeing
must find a way to respond to the
Airbus takeover of the CSeries,
and its first ? and probably best ?
option is the E-Jet. ?
150 seats in the same timeframe.
Fleets Analyzer records the
combined single-aisle orderbooks for Airbus and Boeing ?
including both current and Neo/
Max variants of the A320 and
737 families ? at 10,515 aircraft.
In its most recent Global
Market Forecast, Airbus predicts
a market for 24,807 single-aisle
aircraft with 100-210 seats in the
period to 2036; Boeing forecasts
29,530 single-aisle deliveries
over the next 20 years, and 2,370
regional jets. ?
Additional reporting by
Dominic Perry in London
9-15 January 2018 | Flight International | 7
THIS WEEK
A
eroVironment will team up
with Japan-based SoftBank
to develop a solar-powered highaltitude, long-endurance unmanned air vehicle for commercial operations.
The Japanese telecommunications operator will back the
high-altitude pseudo-satellite
project, known as HAPSMobile,
with the joint venture to provide
up to $65 million for development, including $5 million from
AeroVironment.
Under the deal, HAPSMobile
will own the intellectual property
(IP) and rights to develop commercial applications around the
world and non-commercial applications in Japan. AeroVironment
will own the IP for non-commercial applications outside Japan,
and the right to manufacture future aircraft for HAPS璏obile.
The announcement could
mark the revival of AeroVironment?s Global Observer, a highaltitude UAV the company had
once intended to compete in the
military field with Northrop
Grumman?s RQ-4 Global Hawk
and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems? Predator series.
AeroVironment has been silent
on the Global Observer since
2014, when it announced a joint
venture with Lockheed Martin to
pursue international customers.
Much of the Global Observer
programme?s momentum was
lost after the first prototype, funded by the US Department of Defense, crashed in 2011, leading to
a demonstration activity being
halted the following year. AeroVironment continued developing
a second prototype, however.
The HAPSMobile project will
join a growing class of high-altitude pseudo-satellite projects including Airbus?s solar-powered
Zephyr and Facebook?s Aquila.
Last year, Airbus and Facebook
agreed to partner on future development activities in this area. ?
FlyViking conquest falters as
fleet issues scupper start-up
Airline plans ?controlled?wind-down after technical difficulties and frequent cancellations
N
orwegian regional carrier
璅lyViking is set to become
the first airline casualty of 2018,
after it opted to cease operations
less than a year after start-up.
The board of the airline has decided to discontinue flights from
12 January, it states.
FlyViking operates from a base
at Troms� airport. Its fleet comprises three Bombardier Dash
8-100 turboprops.
The airline says it aims to
maintain services on the Oslo豶land route by establishing a
new company and leasing aircraft and staff from other carriers.
Chairman Ola Olsen says the
operation is ?not economically
viable? and that the plan is for a
?controlled winding-up?.
The airline has suffered ?major
technical challenges? with the
Dash 8 fleet, more than it expected, including an absent key function on a fourth aircraft planned
for introduction last November.
AirTeamImages
AeroVironment
venture to build
pseudo-satellite
OPERATIONS DAVID KAMINSKI-MORROW LONDON
Carrier operated three Bombardier Dash 8-100s on domestic routes
?This made it impossible to
use on our routes,? the carrier
says. ?The aircraft could not be
used as a back-up and the
planned extension of the network
would not be possible.?
FlyViking, owned by Viking
Air Norway, says it was forced to
cancel flights and lose customers
and this contributed to a failure
to achieve爌rofitability.
?There have been too many
cancellations of routes and refunds to our passengers, which
has had a negative financial impact on the company,? it adds.
The owner has injected funds
amounting to NKr134 million
($16.5 million) and the airline
says it wants to meet obligations
to 12 January. ?
See News Focus P15
DEVELOPMENT GREG WALDRON SINGAPORE
AVIC?s giant amphibian makes debut
C
hinese company AVIC?s
AG600 amphibian conducted its first flight on 24 December,
with the four-engined type taking
off from Zhuhai airport for a
64min sortie.
The debut flight had originally
been planned for 2015, but development issues caused delays.
During the debut, the AG600?s
?basic control features? were assessed. With a maximum take-
Imaginechina/REX/Shutterstock
UNMANNED SYSTEMS
LEIGH GIANGRECO
WASHINGTON DC
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network and fleet information sign up at:
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Likely roles for the aircraft include firefighting and search and rescue
8 | Flight International | 9-15 January 2018
off weight of 53.5t, the type is
the world?s largest amphibian
aircraft, more than 10t heavier
than the next largest, the Shin�
Maywa US-2.
China Daily quoted Zhang
Shuwei, deputy general manager
of China Aviation Industry General Aircraft, as saying that there
are 17 orders for the aircraft, all
from domestic customers.
The type will perform parapublic missions such as search
and rescue and firefighting. Used
in the latter role, it will be able to
pump 12t of water aboard in just
20sec, AVIC says. For transport
applications, it can accommodate
up to 50 passengers, and can take
off in high sea states. ?
flightglobal.com
THIS WEEK
IAG swoops to
acquire assets from
Niki
Air Transport P10
SALE LEIGH GIANGRECO WASHINGTON DC
Nigeria moves closer to Super Tucano acquisition
Embraer
T
Potentially $593 million deal covers 12 aircraft, training and support
of the light-attack type. The potentially $593 million Foreign Military Sales deal includes the aircraft, plus weapons, training,
spare parts and facilities.
The US State Department gave
its approval to the proposed sale
despite concerns expressed by
the previous Obama administration over the Nigerian air force?s
accidental bombing of civilians
in a refugee camp near the
璪order with Cameroon in January 2017. ?
he US ambassador to Nigeria
has presented a letter of acceptance to the nation?s air force
for the sale of 12 Embraer/Sierra
Nevada A-29 Super Tucanos,
local officials say.
Washington has also ?indicated
readiness? to work with Nigerian
air force officials to facilitate early
delivery of the aircraft once payment has been made.?
Nigeria?s government expects to
sign the letter of acceptance before
20 February, to enable production
ANALYSIS PAUL HAYES & DAVID LEARMOUNT LONDON
INCIDENT
AARON CHONG SINGAPORE
Data reveals another year of
safety for airline passengers
777 cockpit left
unmanned after
pilot is ?slapped?
I
Latest research covering commercial aviation shows strong performance in last 12 months
ommercial aviation had another very safe year in 2017,
with no revenue passenger deaths
from standard airline operations,
according to FlightGlobal?s Airline
Safety & Losses report.
Although there were fatal
commercial aviation accidents,
�
none involved passenger jets or
large turboprops.
The largest aircraft in a fatal accident last year was the crash of a
MyCargo Airlines Boeing 747-400
freighter that killed all four of the
crew, as well as 35 people on the
ground. After a badly managed
poor weather descent into
Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, the crew attempted a go-around, but crashed
into housing just beyond the airport perimeter.
Airline Safety & Losses is written for an aviation insurance audience. However, Flight International?s annual airline safety review, to
be published in the 23-29 January
issue, takes an airline safety manager?s perspective. It shows the
total number of fatal accidents in
2017 was 12 and the number of
deaths was 56 ? a figure unrivalled by any other mode of mass
public transport.
flightglobal.com
MickTsikas/EPA-璄FE/REX/Shutterstock
C
Six people died when DHC-2 Beaver crashed near Sydney in late 2017
The report reveals, however, a
number of cases where flights
came close to disaster through
carelessness or incompetence, yet
fatalities were avoided despite aircraft damage. The most common
serious accident continues to be
runway excursion on landing.
The report also examines a rising trend: holidaymakers buying
trips in small commercial aircraft
at their holiday destinations.
These, while safe by normal
standards, cannot aspire to the
almost risk-free performance that
airlines are now achieving.
There were three such fatal accidents in 2017, including the loss
of a Sydney Seaplanes de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver in
Australia and a Nature Air Cessna
Grand Caravan in Costa Rica, both
on the last day of the year.
Despite airlines? safety performance, aviation insurers did not
have a good year, with incurred
all-risk losses exceeding written
premiums for the fourth year running. FlightGlobal estimates incurred airline hull and legal liability losses for 2017 at $1.1 billion
? $400 million less than the estimated cost of claims in 2016. ?
Download the full report
from flightglobal.com/
safetyandlosses
ndia?s Jet Airways has grounded
two senior pilots after they both
exited the cockpit of a Boeing
777-300ER following an argument on 1 January, leaving the
324 passengers and 14 crew
members in the hands of the
widebody?s autopilot.
Jet says that the two pilots
?were outside the cockpit for less
than a minute before returning,
but the autopilot mode was on as
the aircraft was cruising?.
The 777 was operating as flight
9W-119 from London to Mumbai
when the ?misunderstanding occurred?, says Jet. ?The airline has
reported the matter to India?s Director General of Civil Aviation
and the crew have been taken off
flying duties pending [the] investigation,? the carrier adds.
Media reports allege that the
male commander ?slapped? his
female colleague, ?after which she
walked out of the cockpit in
tears?. When she did not return,
he ?left the cockpit, leaving it unmanned for some time? before
both pilots resumed their duties.
?At Jet Airways, safety is of
paramount importance and Jet
has zero tolerance for any action
of its employees that compromises safety,? the airline says. ?
9-15 January 2018 | Flight International | 9
AIR TRANSPORT
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PURCHASE GHIM-LAY YEO WASHINGTON DC
IAG swoops to acquire assets from Niki
Some of insolvent carrier?s A320-family aircraft, landing slots and staff will be transferred to Austria-based operation
AG has agreed to acquire the assets of Austrian leisure carrier
Niki for ?20 million ($24 million)
and provide liquidity of up to
?16.5 million.
The purchase will be made by
a newly formed subsidiary of
IAG?s Spanish low-cost carrier
Vueling, the group says. The
transaction is subject to regulatory approval by the European
Commission.
To be incorporated in Austria,
the new subsidiary will initially
operate separately from Vueling,
IAG says. It plans to employ
about 740 former Niki employees
to run the operation, and further
AirTeamImages
I
New unit is to be established alongside low-cost specialist Vueling
details of its branding and route
network will be announced ?in
due course?.
?Niki was the most financially
viable part of Air Berlin and its
focus on leisure travel means it?s
a great fit with Vueling,? says IAG
chief executive Willie Walsh.
?This deal will enable Vueling to
increase its presence in Austria,
Germany and Switzerland and
provide the region?s consumers
with more choice of low-cost
air爐ravel.?
The Niki assets to be acquired
include up to 15 Airbus A320family aircraft as well as slots at
several airports, including D黶seldorf, Munich, Palma, Vienna
and Zurich.
Air Berlin filed for insolvency
on 15 August 2017, and Niki was
forced to follow suit on 13 December, after Lufthansa dropped
its plan to acquire the Austrian
operator. ?
PROGRAMME STEPHEN TRIMBLE WASHINGTON DC
CSeries receives boost with EgyptAir contract
N
orth African carrier EgyptAir
has firmed an agreement to
order 12 Bombardier CS300s and
take purchase rights on a further
12, converting a letter of intent
announced during the Dubai air
show last November.
?Welcoming EgyptAir to the
family of CSeries operators is
another landmark moment for
�
Bombardier,? says Fred Cromer,
president of the airframer?s commercial aircraft unit.
Safwat Musallam, the Star Alliance airline?s chief executive,
credits the CS300 with a ?unique
profitability profile? which ?will
allow us to open up new opportunities and fits perfectly into our
growth strategy?.
The order gives the CSeries
programme its first confirmed
new customer since June 2016,
when Air Canada finalised a deal
for 45 CS300s.
EgyptAir?s interest in the small
narrowbody was revealed in the
weeks after Bombardier announced an agreement in October 2017 to give Airbus a majority
stake in the joint venture that
manages the CSeries.
In a further boost for Bombardier, on 22 December 2017 Korean Air received its first of 10
CS300s, becoming the third customer to take delivery of a
CSeries-family jet, after European
operators Swiss and Air Baltic.
Korean Air will debut its lead
CS300 (MSN 55018) on domestic
routes on 16 January, with a second example also due for acceptance before the end of 2017.
The SkyTeam carrier was one
of the key early supporters of the
CSeries programme, announcing
a commitment to order 10
CS300s with 10 options at the
Paris air show in 2011. ?
Additional reporting by
Edward Russell
UPGRADE
Sukhoi Civil Aircraft
?Saberlets? give Superjet added lift
10 | Flight International | 9-15 January 2018
A Sukhoi Superjet 100 was flown on 21 December 2017 for the
first time with ?saberlets? installed on both wingtips, launching the
flight-test phase of a certification campaign for the update. Sukhoi
Civil Aircraft (SCAC) says the new feature is expected to reduce
fuel burn by at least 3% and improve take-off and landing performance, especially during operations in hot weather conditions and
from airports at high altitudes. The saberlets should save operators
?up to $70,000 per year per one SSJ100?, says SCAC president
Alexander Rubtsov. Voronezh-based VASO will build the saberlet
kits if customers select the option as a forward fit or retrofit improvement. Structural reinforcements are also made to parts of the
wing to account for the changed aerodynamic loads.
flightglobal.com
AIR TRANSPORT
Ilyushin updates
get Moscow
funding
Air Transport P12
DELIVERY DAVID KAMINSKI-MORROW LONDON
Qatar stretches its
acceptance target
for first A350-1000
Q
atar Airways and Airbus
have agreed to a revised delivery schedule under which the
A350-1000 launch customer will
receive its first example of the
long-range twinjet early this year,
rather than before the end of 2017
as previously planned.
Qatar?s first of an eventual 37
of the largest A350 variant ? air-
Airbus
Airbus agrees to delay handover, with lead example in final
preparation before transfer after December flight debut
craft MSN88, registered as
瑼7-ANA ? made its flight debut
on 7 December 2017. Airbus tells
FlightGlobal that it has agreed to
deliver the initial -1000 ?early in
the new year?.
The company has not disclosed the reasons for the schedule adjustment, but notes that it is
?fully committed and focused to
Gulf airline has commitment for 76 of long-range type in two models
deliver the aircraft to Qatar Airways? full customer爏atisfaction?.
The Rolls-Royce Trent XWBpowered aircraft is now undergoing ?final preparatory steps?
necessary for entry into service.
Airbus has not given a specific
date for the delivery, pointing
out that this is the ?airline?s
privilege?.
Flight Fleets Analyzer shows
Qatar as already operating 22 of
the smaller A350-900, with another 19 on order. ?
DEVELOPMENT STEPHEN TRIMBLE WASHINGTON DC
Testing time nears as China eyes propulsion Leap
C
The MIIT also revealed two
new dimensions of the indigenous Chinese rival to the CFM
International Leap-1C to power
the C919. The CJ-1000AX has a
diameter of 1.95m (76.8in) and a
length of 3.29m (10.7ft), it says.
That compares with 1.98m and
3.32m, respectively, for the current Leap-1C.
The shorter length of the
瑿J-1000AX is probably due to a
design that, compared with the
CFM type, uses one fewer stage of
rotating blades in the low-pressure turbine.
In many other respects, ACAE
and CFM use a similar configuration, with a two-spool layout featuring a one-stage fan, three-stage
booster, 10-stage high-pressure
compressor and two-stage highpressure turbine. The CJ-1000AX
uses six stages in the low-pressure turbine, compared with
seven in the Leap-1C.
Comac will offer C919 with domestic alternative to CFM product
flightglobal.com
ACAE has not selected a fan
drive gear system for the CJ1000A, but it does use RollsRoyce-style
hollow-titanium,
wide-chord fan blades.
The MIIT also discloses that
ACAE is 3D printing the fuel nozzles for the CJ-1000AX?s singleannular combustor. ?
DEVELOPMENT MAVIS TOH SINGAPORE
CRAIC powers up CR 929 engine search
Imaginechina/REX/Shutterstock
hina?s AECC Commercial
Aircraft Engine (ACAE) has
completed an 18-month assembly process for the first
瑿J-1000AX demonstrator engine
for Comac?s C919 airliner.
The demonstrator will be used
to help validate the engine?s advanced technologies, China?s
Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) announced in late December 2017.
China plans to build 24 more
CJ-1000A prototype engines to
support an airworthiness certification campaign, with entry into
service targeted after 2021.
Developers of a joint RussianChinese widebody have issued a
request for proposals for the jet?s
propulsion system.
The request, which covers
both the engine and nacelle, was
issued to suppliers on 21
December 2017 by China-Russia
Commercial Aircraft Corporation
(CRAIC). Submissions are required by 30 May.
CRAIC has previously indicated that the developmental
CR�9 will initially by powered
by an engine from a major
Western manufacturer, such as
GE Aviation or Rolls-Royce, with
an indigenous powerplant to be
developed later.
In early December, Russia?s
United Aircraft (UAC) said the
CR�9 project?s board has approved the twinjet?s ?Gate 2?
development stage. It has also
agreed on an organisational
structure and budget, allowing
?full operational activity? in the
near future.
UAC and its Chinese partner
Comac are developing three variants of the CR 929. The baseline
aircraft will be the -600, with a
passenger capacity of 280 seats
in a three-class configuration
and a range of 6,500nm
(12,000km). This will be followed
by a smaller -500 model and a
larger -700 version. ?
9-15 January 2018 | Flight International | 11
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STRATEGY MAVIS TOH SINGAPORE
M
itsubishi Aircraft has created a new division to ?reinforce the development and management? of its MRJ regional
jet爌rogramme.
Under the new division, which
is headed by former programme
director Alex Bellamy, sits the integrated product team execution
department, which is concerned
with promotion and management; the governance management office, responsible for matters such as schedule setting,
evaluation and risk management;
and the product strategy office.
Mitsubishi Aircraft has also restructured its engineering division into five departments: aircraft integration; mechanical
system design; electrical system
design; airframe design; and avionics, fly-by-wire and software
design. There will also be three
offices focusing on interiors, test
rig integration and electrical wiring interconnect systems design.
The Japanese manufacturer
tells FlightGlobal that the new
structure, which became effective
on 1 January, clarifies roles and
responsibilities, enables more efficient communication and
quicker decision making, and
will allow it to execute the MRJ
programme ?more efficiently?.
Mitsubishi Aircraft is targeting
a first delivery of the MRJ90 to
launch customer All Nippon Airways by mid-2020. This schedule
Mitsubishi Aircraft
MRJ programme gains
new management arm
All Nippon Airways should take first production example in 2020
will be supported by the addition
of two further test aircraft ? 10007
and 10010 ? which are currently
undergoing structural assembly
and should expand its fleet to six
by the end of this year.
The pair will incorporate late
design changes to the MRJ90?s
avionics bay made to comply
with certification requirements.
They will focus on high-intensity
radiated field and electromagnetic interference tests, functionality
and reliability, passenger comfort
and operational evaluation.
Mitsubishi Aircraft has already
passed the halfway mark in its
MRJ certification campaign, having clocked more than 1,500
flight hours. About 500h of extra
tests were added to its original
plan due to design changes. ?
FINANCE DAVID KAMINSKI-MORROW LONDON & TOM ZAITSEV MOSCOW
Ilyushin updates get Moscow funding
Modernisation programmes for two types and engine development aim to reduce dependence on Western airliners
ussia?s cabinet has granted
further budgetary support for
modernisation work on two
璉lyushin aircraft types as well as
the development of engines to
power them.
A package of directives envisages allocating just over Rb13 billion ($224 million) to Ilyushin?s
effort to upgrade its Il-114-300
twin-turboprop and Il-96-400
widebody, with the funds to be
directed as a state contribution to
parent company United Aircraft.
Similarly, the government has
approved a $56 million capital
injection into United Engine
(UEC) to finance the development of powerplants intended to
equip each of the aircraft. Of this
sum, $30 million is assigned to
the preliminary research and design of the high-thrust PD-35 turbofan that could also be used to
power new-generation long-haul
airliners.
The remainder of the funding
for UEC should go towards en-
AirTeamImages
R
The Il-96 and Il-114 are both heading towards a production revival
hancing the Klimov TV7-117 turboprop, which is being modified
to power the Il-114-300 and the
Il-112 light military transport.
The company has completed a
first phase of flight trials with a
prototype of the enhanced
璗V7-117ST installed on an Il-76
flying testbed, totalling 20 sorties
made from the Gromov Flight
Test Institute in Zhukovsky over
12 | Flight International | 9-15 January 2018
a four-month period. UEC expects the TV7-117ST to gain certification by 2020.
?Adoption of the package is in
line with the government policy
to ensure workload for Russia?s
aviation industry, meet domestic
demand for aircraft and reduce
dependence on purchases of foreign aviation equipment,? the
government says.
Meanwhile, Russian state lessor GTLK is to acquire two
璉l-96-400Ms for about Rb14 billion. The company says Rb4 billion was allocated during 2017,
with Rb9.8 billion to be granted
under the 2018 federal budget
and the remaining Rb200 million
to be sourced from external funds.
The initial Rb4 billion allocation will enable production of the
Il-96s to ?advance?, GTLK says.
The Russian government is supporting both serial production of
the type and ?mechanisms to
maintain sales?, it adds.
VASO, the Voronezh-based assembly plant which builds the
璉l-96-300, is preparing for development of the -400M which, it
says, will have the capacity to
transport 400 passengers over a
6,500nm (12,000km) range.
It has been aiming to produce
two -400Ms annually, claiming
that the new model will help reduce local carriers? dependency
on Airbus and Boeing types. ?
flightglobal.com
AIR TRANSPORT
A busy year for
arrivals and
departures
News Focus P15
INCIDENT DAVID KAMINSKI-MORROW LONDON
Poor response heightened LOT scrape
Probe finds crew was unprepared for failure of back-up gear-extension system, amid poor communication with ground staff
he pilots of a LOT Boeing
767-300ER involved in a gearup landing had relied on the alternate gear-extension system
functioning, after a hydraulic
leak, and had not prepared for the
situation to deteriorate in the
final moments of approach.
Investigators indicate the crew
was caught by surprise when the
alternate extension system malfunctioned just before arrival in
Warsaw, and ran out of time to
analyse the problem ? a situation
exacerbated by difficulties in
reaching specialist personnel on
the ground.
The hydraulic leak, which prevented operation of the conventional landing-gear deployment
system, occurred about 15min
after flight LO16 had departed
Newark on 1 November 2011.
LIMITED ADVICE
Polish investigation authority
PKBWL says the crew contacted
LOT?s operations centre, which
advised continuing the transatlantic flight. After reviewing the
information received, it adds, the
airline?s maintenance co-ordination centre ?did not consider?
that specialist support for the
crew was necessary.
?No further analysis was undertaken and no further action
was considered related to probability of escalation of the abnor-
AirTeamImages
T
767-300ER touched down in Warsaw with just 1.6t of fuel remaining during November 2011 incident
mal situation on board,? says the
inquiry. The crew, as a result,
conducted the flight on the basis
that they would use the alternate
gear-extension system on approach to Warsaw.
The PKBWL indicates that the
pilots took advantage of the transatlantic crossing time to prepare for
the landing, including discussing
the first officer?s previous experience of using the alternate extension system during a flight three
years earlier. But these expectations for the landing procedure
were completely disrupted when,
during approach, the crew?s attempts to lower the landing-gear
twice failed, and the aircraft was
forced to execute a go-around.
Not until the failure of the alter-
nate-extension system did the
crew seek further advice and consultation. At this point the aircraft
had 7.7t of fuel remaining. ?Only
then did the process of searching
for the right people commence,?
the inquiry points out.
While a 767 instructor pilot became available within a short
time, technical and access problems with radio stations meant a
767 ground engineer had to drive
to the operations centre, delaying
contact with the flight for 20min.
The operations centre did not
have a risk-assessment system
and had not anticipated escalation of the crisis, contributing to
the shortening of time available
to analyse the situation. Investigators state that the centre did not
ANALYSIS
Investigation draws blank on how crucial circuit-breaker tripped
Polish investigators have been unable to determine precisely when a
crucial circuit-breaker was tripped
on the LOT Boeing 767-300ER,
effectively forcing the crew to carry
out a gear-up landing at Warsaw.
Investigation authority PKBWL
states that ? if a pre-flight check
was carried out correctly at Newark
? the circuit-breaker must have correctly been ?on? at this time, and
?inadvertently opened? between
then and an attempt to use alternate landing-gear extension. Its
flightglobal.com
tripping would not have been signalled by any warning system.
The PKBWL says the location
of the circuit-breaker can put it in
physical contact with objects
placed in its immediate vicinity,
and some carriers have previously
mentioned to Boeing concerns
that breakers on the same panel
can be accidentally opened or
damaged. The airframer developed a guard to protect the vulnerable breakers, but the LOT
aircraft involved in the accident
did not have one fitted.
Although these considerations,
plus the human factors associated
with a long flight and hydraulic
failure, meant inadvertent opening of the breaker was ?highly
probable?, the inquiry could not
determine that the crew was responsible. It also could conceivably have been switched off
during maintenance checks or a
previous flight, and not noticed
by flight LO16?s crew during predeparture checks. ?
breach rules, but that the radio
station problems amounted to a
?serious? issue of neglect.
?Time deficit meant the
ground engineer was not able to
fully analyse diagrams of the alternate landing-gear extension
system,? says the inquiry.
Investigators traced the extension-system failure to a tripped
circuit-breaker which went undetected during the flight and amid
subsequent attempts by the crew,
after the aborted approach, to determine why the failure had occurred.
FRANTIC CHECKS
The inquiry says the first officer
cycled and rechecked several circuit-breakers as the aircraft flew a
holding pattern at Warsaw, but
not the breaker responsible for
the problem. The captain could
not assist with the check, because
he was concentrating on flying
the aircraft.
Pilots of two Polish fighters accompanying the twinjet informed
that the landing-gear was still retracted and the 767 crew attempted to use gravity-extension, but
this effort was unsuccessful.
Fuel concerns led the crew to
abandon the attempt and, 80min
after the go-around, the aircraft
carried out a gear-up landing on
runway 33. It touched down with
1.6t of fuel remaining. ?
9-15 January 2018 | Flight International | 13
SPONSORED UPDATE
Reimagining Aviation?s Future
These are exciting and challenging times for
the global aviation industry: technology
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These challenges are some of the
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Aviation Leadership Summit (SAALS), held
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Held biennially, the SAALS has
established itself as the definitive global
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SAALS gathers key stakeholders in aviation,
including top government representatives,
civil aviation authorities and senior
executives of airlines, aircraft manufacturers,
airport operators and air navigation service
providers for a frank exchange of views on
key issues and challenges facing aviation.
More than 300 senior aviation leaders from
80 countries attended SAALS 2016.
To be held from 4 to 5 February 2018 at a
new venue, the Pan Pacific Singapore, the
SAALS 2018 will explore the theme of
?Reimagining Aviation?s Future?,
addressing both the challenges and
opportunities arising from such the
continued demand for air travel, and chart a
Aviation leaders must make
the right choices today to
create the right pathways
for a sustainable and brighter
future for aviation
sustainable approach to support future growth
in the global aviation industry.
SAALS 2018 will see prominent and diverse
senior officials participating in the Summit.
Distinguished luminaries addressing the SAALS
include Mr Khaw Boon Wan, Coordinating
Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for
Transport, Republic of Singapore. Other
prominent personalities include Dr Olumuyiwa
Bernard Aliu, President of the Council,
International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO);
Mr Alexandre de Juniac, Director General and
Chief Executive Officer, International Air
Transport Association (IATA); Mr Henrik Hololei,
Director-General for Mobility and Transport,
European Commission; Mr Alan Joyce, Chief
Executive Officer and Managing Director of the
Qantas Group; and Mr Tewolde GebreMariam
Tesfay, Group Chief Executive Officer, Ethiopian
Airlines.
Mr Kevin Shum, Director-General, CAAS,
said, ?The aviation industry is at a crossroad.
While the industry is expanding
exponentially, opening up opportunities for
economic growth and businesses, these
developments also bring about immense
challenges and complexities. Aviation
leaders must make the right choices today
to create the right pathways for a
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The SAALS will provide a timely platform to
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SAALS 2018 WILL FEATURE HIGH-LEVEL DISCUSSIONS INCLUDING
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Unlocking Aviation?s Potential; What Do We Need to Do?
Session #1
Future Aircraft Technologies
Session #2
The Airline Industry beyond LCCs
Session #3
The Future Of UAVs
SAALS is jointly organised by the Ministry of Transport (MOT), Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS),
International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Experia Events Pte Ltd.
For more information, visit http://www.aviationleadershipsummit.com/.
NEWS FOCUS
KC-46A clears first
certification step
Defence P16
OPERATIONS GRAHAM DUNN LONDON
A busy year for arrivals and departures
Bankruptcy claimed several familiar airlines in 2017, but there was no shortage of debutants ready to take their place
lightGlobal data shows that 39
new airline operations were
established over the first eight
months of 2017; roughly matching the 37 carriers that ceased operations or suspended flights during the same period.
The start-ups included some
subsidiary carriers created to
enter new markets, or, in the case
of EasyJet Europe, to ensure continuity of operations ahead of the
UK?s exit from the EU.
Notable arrivals included
IAG?s long-haul, low-cost operation Level, which launched services from Barcelona in June
2017 with flights to Buenos
Aires, Los Angeles, Oakland and
Punta Cana using Airbus A330s
operated by sister carrier Iberia.
In December, it announced Paris
Orly as its second base, where it
will take over the air operator?s
certificate (AOC) of another IAG
unit, OpenSkies. Conceived by
British Airways as an all-premium operator, OpenSkies? Boeing
757s and 767s were subsequently
reconfigured to include an economy-class section. The unit will
cease operations to Newark and
New York by mid-year.
Air France-KLM launched services with its new hybrid operation Joon in early December. Initially flying from Paris Charles de
Gaulle to Barcelona, Berlin, Lisbon and Porto, it will begin longhaul flights to Fortaleza in Brazil
and Mahe in the Seychelles in
the 2018 summer season.
EURASIAN ACTIVITY
In Russia, Azimuth launched
flights in September, initially
from Rostov-on-Don airport, before becoming one of the initial
tenants at that city?s new Platov
airport. The carrier is now seeking authority to begin routes
within the Eurasian Economic燯nion.
Azerbaijan Airlines? new lowcost unit, Buta Airways, also
started operations in September.
But Swiss start-up Powdair,
flightglobal.com
IAG
F
Level took IAG into the long-haul, low-cost sector across the Atlantic
which had intended to begin ski
services from Sion airport before
the end of 2017, has pushed back
its operational launch into this
year, following investor issues.
In Argentina, three
new airlines made
progress in launching
operations in 2017
In Chile, Santiago-based Jet�
Smart launched revenue services
in late July, and is building up its
network, initially to eight domestic destinations. The Indigo Partners-backed operator has a pair of
A320s, and aims to build this
fleet to at least nine but should
benefit from a firm order from its
parent for 430 Airbus jets, of
which 70 are destined for the operator. Viva Air, meanwhile,
launched its second carrier in the
region, with Viva Air Peru starting operations in May, initially
using two A320s on seven domestic routes.
In a strong reflection of Argentina?s freshly liberalised aviation
industry, three new airlines made
progress in launching operations
during 2017. Avianca Argentina
began flights on 21 November
with ATR 72-600s. Low-cost
start-up Flybondi took delivery of
its first 737-800, and Norwegian?s
new subsidiary in Argentina is
set to begin domestic and regional flights this year, connecting
with its Buenos Aires to London
Gatwick service.
In the Middle East, Saudia
launched a new low-cost operation, with Flyadeal having commenced domestic flights in September using the first of eight
A320s being leased from Dubai
Aerospace Enterprise. Omani
start-up SalamAir launched services last January, and now
serves domestic and international destinations.
WATANIYA RETURNS
Kuwaiti carrier Wataniya Airways relaunched operations with
a pair of A320s, six years after
ceasing flights, having regained
an AOC in June. It underlined its
growth plans by tentatively signing for 25 A320neos during November?s Dubai air show.
Air Berlin and Monarch Airlines were lost from the skies in
the autumn of 2017, after longstanding financial challenges. Air
Berlin was forced to open insolvency proceedings in August,
after key shareholder Etihad Airways pulled the plug on further
funding. The carrier halted flights
under its own brand at the end of
October, with EasyJet, IAG and
Lufthansa successfully bidding
for a number of assets.
Another of Etihad?s former European investments, Swiss regional operator Darwin Airline,
also ceased operations, after the
Gulf carrier sold its 33% stake as
part of an acquisition of the
Lu�
�
gano-based airline by Adria
Airways in July. After briefly operating as Adria Airways Switzerland, in December Darwin was
ruled bankrupt by a Swiss court,
prompting its liquidation.
Leisure carrier Monarch found
itself squeezed in the UK-Mediterranean resorts market after security concerns hit tourism demand in North Africa and
Turkey, and ceased flights on
2燨ctober.
MORE EXITS
Other casualties included Hawaiian operator Island Air, which
halted services in November, and
Venezuela?s oldest airline, Aero�
postal, which was forced to cease
operations last August. Further
challenges in the region led to
Insel瑼ir?s Aruba-based subsidiary filing for bankruptcy in June.
In Asia, Indian carrier Air
Costa had its air operator?s permit
suspended in June by India?s Directorate General of Civil Aviation, following three months of
inactivity after hitting financial
trouble, and ATR operator Air
Carnival also suspended flights.
Efforts continue in a bid to restore the operations of Air
Pegasus. A deal emerged at the
start of 2017 under which Bengaluru-based Flyeasy would acquire a stake in the carrier, but
this failed to reach fruition and
local reports suggest it has secured a new investor and is
working towards a resumption of
services this year.
Several other operators suspended services pending restructuring, including Mega Maldives
Airlines and Turkish regional carrier Borajet. ?
9-15 January 2018 | Flight International | 15
DEFENCE
O
rbital ATK would deliver
seven armed Cessna AC-208
Caravans to the Afghan National
Army under a pending US Air
Force contract award, according
to an acquisition notice posted on
27 December 2017.
The USAF is inviting comments on a plan that would award
the contract to Orbital ATK without a competition, and responses
with alternative options must be
submitted to its Aeronautical Systems Center by 12 January. Bids
from non-US companies are excluded due to security requirements, the USAF notes.
The deal would add
to 208 other aircraft
the US Department
of Defense has
supplied to the Afghan
military and police
If it is finalised, the deal
would add to 208 other aircraft
that the US Department of
璂efense has supplied to the Afghan military and police between fiscal year 2007 and
FY2016, according to a 2017 report from the US Government
Accountability Office.
The Afghan air force is already operating an unarmed version of the Cessna 208 turboprop
as a cargo and utility transport,
with Flight Fleets Analyzer
showing it as having 24 examples in use.
Orbital ATK is advertising the
AC-208 ?Eliminator? as a minigunship which is equipped with
Lockheed Martin AGM-114
Hellfire air-to-surface missiles
and 70mm (2.75in) guided rockets. The aircraft also comes with
sensors, target designators, data
links and self-protection equipment installed. ?
Single engine failure grounds
one-third of US JSTARS fleet
Five aircraft damaged in ground-test mishap at Robins AFB, as replacement decision looms
A
n engine failure on 21 December 2017 caused damage
to five of the US Air Force?s
Northrop Grumman E-8C joint
surveillance target attack radar
system (JSTARS) aircraft: nearly
one-third of its fleet of the Boeing
707-300-based type.
The Pratt & Whitney TF33102C engine failed during a
maintenance test run on a crowded ramp by the runway, spewing
debris around the ramp and parking areas.
Three of the five damaged aircraft were returned to flight status
at Robins AFB, Georgia within
three days, and a fourth was expected to be repaired by early this
month, the USAF says. The status of the fifth E-8C ? on which
the engine failed ? was not immediately available.
US Air Force
Kabul targeting
?Eliminator? deal
with Orbital ATK
PROPULSION STEPHEN TRIMBLE WASHINGTON DC
Debris was spread around ramp and parking areas during incident
Despite the damage caused to
five of the USAF?s 16 operationally-coded JSTARS aircraft, the service says there was no disruption
to surveillance flights requested
by field commanders.
The incident, which is now
under review by a Safety Investigation Board, occurred as top air
force leaders continue to consider whether to cancel a competition to select an adapted business jet platform to replace the
E-8C fleet. ?
PROGRAMME LEIGH GIANGRECO WASHINGTON DC & GREG WALDRON SINGAPORE
KC-46A clears first certification step
B
oeing has gained an amended
type certificate for the 767-2C
that serves as the baseline aircraft
for conversion into the US Air
Force?s KC-46A tanker, and moved
a step closer to begin producing its
first example for Japan.
The manufacturer expects to
deliver its first KC-46As to the
USAF this year, but first must re-
ceive two certifications from the
US Federal Aviation Administration. In addition to the amended
certification for the 767-2C, the
programme is still working towards qualifying for a supplemental type certification (STC)
for the modifications required for
the military tanker coversion.
?We continue to make good
Boeing
SELECTION
STEPHEN TRIMBLE
WASHINGTON DC
For insight and analysis of the latest
developments in the defence sector, visit:
flightglobal.com/defence
Federal Aviation Administration must still approve tanker conversion
16 | Flight International | 9-15 January 2018
progress on the STC effort,? says
Boeing KC-46A programme manager Mike Gibbons. By the end of
2017, the company had completed 83% of the required work, and
commenced flight testing with
the FAA. There are six KC-46A
test aircraft supporting the overall certification effort.
Prior to securing the 767-2C?s
certification, Boeing completed a
series of ground and flight tests
focusing on the aircraft?s avionics, auto-flight and environmental control systems, as well as its
new fuel system.
Separately, the USAF has
awarded Boeing a $279 million
contract to produce Japan?s first
KC-46A. Tokyo in 2015 announced it would acquire three of
the type via Washington?s Foreign
Military Sales mechanism, with
deliveries to begin around 2020. ?
flightglobal.com
DEFENCE
Upgrades boost
Super Hornet?s
sting
Defence P18
REQUIREMENT DOMINIC PERRY LONDON
Caracal dispute rumbles on in Warsaw
A
irbus
Helicopters
has
stepped up its claims for
compensation from the Polish
government over the collapse in
2016 of negotiations related to
the acquisition of 50 H225M
瑿aracals for all three branches of
its armed forces.
According to the Dziennik
Gazeta Prawna newspaper, the
company has written to multiple
government departments in
Warsaw, and also the Polish
�
prime minister, calling for international arbitration in the dispute. In its correspondence, the
airframer claims that the Law and
Justice party, which came to
power in October 2015, entered
negotiations with the sole intention of sabotaging them.
Although Airbus Helicopters
declines to comment on the report, FlightGlobal understands
that the contents are not disputed.
The two sides have been in
discussions since mid-2017, but
have so far been unable to reach
an amicable conclusion.
The H225M was selected by
the previous Polish administration in April 2015, beating rival
offers from Leonardo Helicopters/PZL Swidnik and Sikorsky/
PZL Mielec. But even before taking office, incoming defence minister Antoni Macierewicz made
numerous statements criticising
the Caracal?s selection, suggesting
that it would not benefit the nation?s aerospace industry.
Airbus Helicopters planned to
create a final assembly line for the
H225M in Lodz, manufacturing
the type for Poland and in small
numbers for the export market.
Negotiations over the contract
collapsed in October 2016, after
Poland?s ministry of economic
development pulled the plug on
Anthony Pecchi/Airbus Helicopters
Airbus Helicopters requests international arbitration following collapse of deal with Polish government for 50 H225Ms
Type was selected by nation?s previous administration in April 2015
talks, claiming that the manufacturer?s offset proposal failed to
match its $3.4 billion target.
Since then, Warsaw has been
seeking a significantly smaller
number of new helicopters: it
plans to buy eight for special
forces operations and eight for
�
naval anti-submarine warfare and
search and rescue missions.
Contracts for both deals are
�
scheduled to be concluded this
year, with deliveries to start in
2019, according to recent statements by Macierewicz.
Airbus
Helicopters
has
proposed the H225M for both
�
requirements, and is facing
�
璫ompetition from the Leonardo
Helicopters
�
AW101
and
璖ikorsky?s S-70i Black Hawk and
MH-60 Seahawk. ?
PRODUCTION LEIGH GIANGRECO WASHINGTON DC
CONTRACT
STEPHEN TRIMBLE
WASHINGTON DC
Fourth-quarter recovery helps F-35
programme to strike delivery target
ockheed Martin achieved its
planned F-35 delivery total for
2017, after rolling out its 66th
example in mid-December. The
�
company?s performance brings
programme deliveries of production-series examples to 266 units
for the US armed services and
璱nternational customers to date.
Achieving the production target came as a surprise. By October
Lockheed had handed over just 44
F-35s in 2017, and was behind
schedule. The US Department of
Defense then ordered a temporary
halt to deliveries after the US Air
Force discovered a corrosion issue
affecting some conventional takeoff and landing F-35As.
With deliveries having totalled
15, 14 and 15 aircraft respectively
for the first three quarters of the
year, Lockheed increased this rate
flightglobal.com
to transfer the remaining 22 examples between October and yearend. This included the UK?s 14th
short take-off and vertical landing
F-35B, accepted during December.
Lockheed expects to manufacture 90 F-35s in 2018, through the
programme?s 10th lot of low-rate
initial production, and to further
accelerate its ramp-up before
achieving an annual total of 160
aircraft by 2023.
Flight Fleets Analyzer records
F-35s as having so far been delivered to the USAF, US Marine
Corps and US Navy, international programme partners Australia,
Italy, the Netherlands, Norway
and the UK, plus export customers Israel and Japan. ?
Crown Copyright
L
The UK took receipt of its 14th B-model example during December
Doha increases
fighter strength
with F-15 award
Q
atar?s air force will receive
36 Boeing F-15QA fighters
under a $6.17 billion deal
璦nnounced late last year.
Confirmation of the order
璮ollowed a November 2016 notification to Congress that Doha
could buy up to 72 F-15QAs and
equipment worth $21 billion.
Work under the 36-unit deal
will conclude by 30 December
2022, according to a notice from
the US Department of Defense on
22 December.
Qatar?s firm F-15QA contract is
the latest investment in new
fighters made by the Gulf state,
which also includes a commitment for 36 Dassault Rafales and
a planned deal for 24 Eurofighter
Typhoons with the UK. ?
9-15 January 2018 | Flight International | 17
DEFENCE
For insight and analysis of the latest
developments in the defence sector, visit:
flightglobal.com/defence
FLEET LEIGH GIANGRECO WASHINGTON DC
Upgrades boost Super Hornet?s sting
Process to extend airframe life by 3,000h set to begin for US Navy, while Block III improvements approach flight testing
he US Navy?s first F/A-18E/F
Super Hornet to receive service life modification upgrades
will arrive at Boeing?s St Louis,
Missouri facility in April, and
leave with an additional 3,000
flight hours available.
Unlike the legacy Hornet fleet,
the Super Hornet enhancement
will not entail one large replacement such as the centre fuselage
barrel, says Dan Gillian, Boeing?s
vice-president of F/A-18 programmes. Instead, modifications
will be distributed across the aircraft, with a focus on corrosion; a
perennial hurdle for the carrierbased aircraft.
After testing two F/A-18 ?learning aircraft?, Boeing found corrosion was well maintained on
Super Hornets that fly regularly,
but cropped up often on examples
that had been grounded for a
while. The company will not
change materials on the aircraft,
but plans to use data analytics to
predict how the navy should handle varied corrosion issues, Gillian says.
?We think the first 30-ish airplanes that we get our hands on
will help us dial in our data analytics predictive models to make
those unknown things known,?
he tells FlightGlobal. ?There will
be a lot of learning early in the
programme, which is one of the
reasons the first of those airplanes
is going to come to St Louis,
where we have the core of the engineering team.?
ADDED STEALTH
Once the service life modification programme is stable, Boeing
will add Block III capabilities to
the modified aircraft around
2022. That package of updates
will include conformal fuel
tanks, a Raytheon APG-63(V)3
radar, Block IV integrated defensive electronic countermeasures
equipment and a Block II integrated defensive electronic
countermeasures system.
USN pilots will fly a stealthier
US Navy
T
Boeing plans to use data analytics to tackle common problem of corrosion on the carrier-based fighter
F/A-18 after the modifications are
complete, although the fighter
will complement rather than
compete with the Lockheed Martin F-35. Besides a fresh coating
and painting, Gillian will not
elaborate on engine inlet changes
that could improve the Super
Hornet?s stealth characteristics.
?The Super Hornet is a pretty
stealthy airplane today,? Gillian
says. ?These are low level improvements that are pretty simple
to make, buying a little bit of margin ? not trying to drastically
change the airplane.?
Block III capabilities will initially be introduced with new aircraft off the line, followed by conversions from the Block II
standard, Gillian says. President
Donald Trump?s fiscal year 2018
budget request funded 80 Super
Hornets over the next five years,
with 14 aircraft in FY2018 and 66
new Block III aircraft spread from
FY2019 through FY2022.
The FY2018 budget also included about $265 million in research funding to support Block
III capabilities including the conformal fuel tanks, advanced
cockpit system (ACS), IRST21
infrared search and track system
and active electronically scanned
18 | Flight International | 9-15 January 2018
array radar upgrades. Boeing
plans to fly the ACS and conformal fuel tank updates with the
navy in 2018, Gillian says.
The Block III Super Hornet
will also come equipped with
tactical targeting networking
technology. The non-stealthy
data link is already a programme
of record on the navy?s Northrop
Grumman
E-2D
Advanced
Hawkeye airborne early warning
aircraft, and Gillian says Boeing
is focusing on delivering the technology for the F/A-18E/F and EA18G Growler.
DESIGN TWEAKS
Boeing has revised the Block III
concept to move away from a
configuration that once included
an enclosed weapons pod, instead favouring a design that will
enable the navy to carry an increased variety of weapons. However, Gillian is careful not to characterise the new standard aircraft
as a ?bomb truck?.
?I think that?s old parlance for
the Super Hornet?s mission,? he
says. ?I think both of the navy?s
next [-generation] fighters will
play multiple roles in air-to-air
and air-to-ground ? but both are
networked and survivable.?
Separately, Northrop is partnering with composites manufacturer VX Aerospace on a canisterlaunched unmanned air vehicle
that could be deployed from the
USN?s E/A-18Gs.
The US Office of Naval Research funded an October 2017
flight test that demonstrated the
ability of the Dash X ? a 3.66m
(12ft)-long folding UAV ? to collect and share electronic warfare
information in flight with a
manned aircraft.
Northrop modified a Bombardier Dash 8 with a sensor suite,
which directed the UAV to
change missions and locations in
real time during the experiment.
This first activity marked a shorebased test, with aircraft separation to be tackled in the next
funding phase.
The USN appears to be interested in Dash X as part of a
manned-unmanned teaming effort with its Block II Growlers, according to J J Thompson, Northrop?s mission systems naval
aviation campaign director. The
company envisages an expendable UAV that would be deployed
from a canister via a parachute,
and operate at speeds of up to
60kt (110km/h). ?
flightglobal.com
DEFENCE
Advanced test run
puts Denali on track
Business Aviation P20
PRODUCTION MIKE RAJKUMAR BENGALURU
Aeronautical Development Agency
Tejas Mk1A edges
closer, as HAL bids
for 83-unit contract
New deal due this year for improved light combat aircraft,
but further variants in doubt as India eyes F-16 or Gripen
H
industan Aeronautics (HAL)
has received a request for
proposal for 83 Tejas Mk1A light
combat aircraft from the Indian
air force. On completion of negotiations, the company is expected
to receive a production order in
late 2018.
India?s Defence Acquisition
Council had cleared the 83-unit
procurement in November 2016.
All of the aircraft are to be in the
Mk1A standard: a significantly
modified version of the Tejas
Mk1, and one that is yet to fly.
The defence ministry has so
far contracted HAL for a total of
40 Tejas Mk1 fighters, via 20-unit
orders placed in 2006 and 2010.
The first of these comprised 16
fighters and four trainers in an
initial operating capability (IOC)
standard, with deliveries to be
completed by December 2011.
However, only five aircraft have
been delivered to the air force to
date, with the remainder to follow by 2020.
HAL and India?s Aeronautical
Development Agency (ADA) are
rushing to complete development of the Tejas Mk1A, to ensure that production can start immediately after deliveries of the
first batch of IOC-standard aircraft are completed.
New Delhi?s planned production run for the Mk1A is for 103
Update should deliver significant weapon and sensor enhancements
aircraft, which puts a proposed
Tejas Mk2 version in doubt, as a
competition for a new single-engined fighter is already under
way, between the Lockheed Martin F-16V and Saab Gripen E.
HAL plans to increase Tejas
production capacity from eight to
16 aircraft per year, with the
Mk1A to be equipped with an
Elta Systems EL/M-2052 active
electronically scanned array
radar, a podded electronic warfare suite and a Cobham in-flight
refuelling probe. New air-to-air
missiles and precision-guided
munitions are also being considered by the ADA, in addition to
the Mk1?s Rafael Derby and Vym�
pel R-73 missiles.
Meanwhile, a parliamentary
report on India?s military states
that the air force is down to 33 active fighter squadrons, against an
authorised strength of 42.
?Fourteen squadrons of MiG21s, -27s and -29s are due for deinduction in the next 10 years,?
the air force says, adding that its
strength could dip to 19 fighter
squadrons by 2027 and 16 by
2032. ?
AIRLIFTER CRAIG HOYLE LONDON
France takes delivery of initial C-130J transport
French air force
F
A second example is due to arrive this year, followed by two tankers
rance?s first Lockheed Martin
C-130J was delivered to its Orl閍ns air base south of Paris on 22
December 2017.
Carrying the service registration 61-PO, the tactical transport
is the first of four C-130Js being
acquired by Paris. Its second airlifter will be received later this
year, while a pair of KC-130J
tanker/transports ? needed to refuel combat helicopters in-flight
? are to follow during 2019.
Meanwhile, France?s SIA� sup-
Download the 2018
Wo r l d A i r Fo r c e s R e p o r t
port body has awarded Marshall
Aerospace and Defence Group a
contract to provide engineering
services for the air force?s 14-strong
fleet of C-130H transports.
The UK company says the contract ? the value of which has not
been disclosed ? covers a transition period ?followed by four
years of full service delivery, with
two additional option periods?.
Flight Fleets Analyzer shows
France?s legacy Hercules as being
aged between 26 and 42 years. ?
IN ASSOCIATION WITH
w w w. f l i g h t g l o b a l . c o m / w a f
Ruag 2017 strip ad.indd 1
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06/12/2017 11:25
9-15 January 2018 | Flight International | 19
BUSINESS AVIATION
Keep up to date with business
aviation news and analysis at:
flightglobal.com/bizav
PROPULSION STEPHEN TRIMBLE WASHINGTON DC
Advanced test run puts Denali on track
With turboprop engine milestone reached, Cessna?s new high-performance single is on course for year-end first flight
E Aviation completed the
first test run of the new Advanced Turboprop engine in
Prague on 22 December 2017,
crossing a key milestone in the
company?s long-term strategy to
compete in a market long dominated by Pratt & Whitney Canada.
The first ground test keeps the
1,240shp (925kW) Advanced Turboprop on track to support Textron Aviation?s plan to begin in late
2018 flight tests of the Cessna Denali: a single-engined turboprop
pitched against the Pilatus PC12NG and Daher?s TBM 910/930.
?With the engine run and most
of the individual component testing completed, early indications
show that we will meet or exceed
all the performance numbers we
have quoted for the engine,? says
Paul Corkery, general manager
for GE Aviation Turboprops.
Textron Aviation
G
New aircraft will compete with PC-12NG and TBM-series rivals
GE unveiled the Advanced Turboprop engine in October 2015,
revealing a configuration packed
with new technologies for the turboprop, including cooled turbine
blades and full authority digital
engine control. About 35% of the
parts in the Advanced Turboprop
are manufactured with 3D printers.
Those advances are meant to
counter P&WC?s long domination
of the 1,200-1,600shp turboprop
engine segment with the PT6 engine, which was introduced in
1964 on the Beechcraft Queen Air.
?We?re developing a real catalyst for the BGA [business and
general aviation] market and
we?re executing on plan. The integration of proven technologies
has expedited the design, development and certification cycle of
the engine,? says Brad Mottier,
vice-president and general manager of BGA and Integrated Systems for GE.
The Advanced Turboprop engine is designed and manufactured by GE?s growing business
holdings in Europe. Avio Aero engineers in Italy designed the engine and it was tested in the Czech
Republic at facilities owned by the
former Walter Aircraft Engines,
which GE acquired in 2008. ?
STRATEGY KATE SARSFIELD LONDON
T
he prospects for Piaggio Aerospace?s beleaguered P180
Avanti Evo business aircraft have
been boosted by a new, strategic
five-year industrial plan, announced by the Italian airframer
in December 2017 and designed
to secure its long-term financial
and operational stability.
The strategy includes a ?255
million ($308 million) cash injection into the business by Piaggio
Aerospace?s Abu Dhabi-based
owner, Mubadala. The investment house ? which took full
ownership of the Villanova
D?Albenga-headquartered venture in 2015 ? will also repurchase the company?s bank debt,
with the balance converted into
equity ?in support of Piaggio Aerospace?s balance sheet?.
Piaggio chief executive Renato
Vaghi describes the industrial plan
as ?transformational?. He says: ?It
lays the foundation to deliver long-
term security built around our core
programmes, while creating opportunities for growth in new areas
of development.?
These include the creation of
what Piaggio calls a ?new production and commercialisation strategy for the P180 twin-engined turboprop, including the assessment
of potential partner opportunities?.
While the company did not elaborate on its strategy for the aircraft,
or disclose what form these partnerships might take, its plan confirms that the twin-pusher is in
dire need of a strategic reboot.
The programme has been badly
hit by the protracted downturn in
the global business aircraft market. Flight Fleets Analyzer records
only six deliveries of the latest iteration of the P180, the Evo, since
its 2015 service entry. No shipments were recorded in the first
nine months of 2017, and Piaggio
will not disclose the year-end de-
20 | Flight International | 9-15 January 2018
Piaggio Aerospace
Piaggio unveils fresh vision for Avanti Evo-lution
Company will explore potential partner opportunites for its P180
livery tally, nor its orderbook size.
Piaggio has shifted its focus in
recent years to special-mission
variants of the platform ? a multirole patrol aircraft and the P.1HH
HammerHead unmanned air vehicle. Scheduled to enter service in
2018, the UAV has been singled
out by Piaggio in its five-year in-
dustrial plan for ?increased focus?.
The strategy also includes
strengthening the existing relationship with fellow Italian company
Leonardo, covering the defence
and security sectors, and the sale of
Piaggio?s remaining engines and
civil aviation maintenance, repair
and overhaul activities. ?
flightglobal.com
GENERAL AVIATION
Driven by Dubai
Data View P22
AIR AMBULANCE KATE SARSFIELD LONDON
CanWest takes delivery
of customised King Air
Under new ownership, work will progress on the diesel-engined DA50
STRATEGY KATE SARSFIELD LONDON
Wanfeng Aviation
to polish Diamond
after its acquisition
Outgoing chief Christian Dries and family ?fully satisfied?
with shared vision and future direction of Chinese partner
C
hina?s Wanfeng Aviation has
acquired Diamond Aircraft
Group, the Austrian-based parent
company of one of Europe?s largest
general aviation manufacturers,
Diamond Aircraft Industries, and
its Canada-based sister.
The purchase, which also includes the company?s Austro Engine division, comes a year after
the Wanfeng Auto Holding subsidiary acquired a 60% stake in
the Canadian operation, and is
intended to assure the company?s
?continued long-term future?.
Diamond was created in 1996 as
a rebrand of Austria?s HOAC. The
motorglider maker had been acquired five years earlier by outgoing chief executive Christian Dries
and his family, who set about turning the company into a major developer of propeller aircraft.
More than 15 models and derivatives have been produced by
the Wiener Neustadt-headquartered airframer to date, including
the two-seat DA20 Katana and
four-seat DA40 piston singles, the
DA42 and DA62 piston-twins
and the short-lived D-JET singleengined personal jet.
flightglobal.com
Dries describes Diamond as
?my life?s work?, adding that ?the
right partner? needed to be found
in order to secure its longevity.
?Wanfeng and specifically
[chairman] Mr Bin Chen share my
vision of the future of general aviation,? Dries says. ?[It is] investing
for the right reasons, with a longterm strategy and resources to see
its vision through. I look forward to
seeing Diamond develop further,
and based on our successful yearlong partnership in Diamond Canada, I am fully satisfied that I leave
Diamond in very good hands.?
Under Wanfeng?s ownership,
work will continue on Diamond?s
latest models, including the in-development Dart 450 turboprop
trainer, scheduled to enter service
this year, and the DA50 family of
diesel-fuelled light aircraft.
Chen says Diamond ?has developed a broad range of superb aircraft that have gained worldwide
respect for their performance, efficiency, safety and innovation.
Based on this excellent foundation, we intend to take Diamond
to a long-term leadership position
in worldwide general aviation?. ?
extron Aviation has delivered
the first Beechcraft King Air
to Canadian operator CanWest
Air, from a 2017 order for nine of
the twin-engined turboprops.
The aircraft ? eight 250s and
one 350 ? will replace CanWest?s
current fleet of B200s to deliver
air ambulance support throughout Alberta on behalf of the western Canadian province?s healthcare provider.
?We now have one
of the first aircraft
in Canada certified
to carry bariatric
[obese] patients?
found throughout Canada?, the
US airframer adds.
CanWest describes the King Air
platform as ?a tremendous asset?
for the business and general aviation services company, which has
been operating air ambulance
missions since its launch in 1986.
The aircraft?s ?reliability,
strength and versatility enables
us to raise the bar in support of
the medical needs of patients in
the remotest parts of our region,?
it says.
?We now have one of the first
aircraft in Canada certified to
carry bariatric [obese] patients.
No other aircraft could have better met our mission,? it adds. ?
CanWest Air
To support their mission requirements, the King Airs are
being modified with a cargo door
and a higher-weight landing gear.
The 350 will operate at an enhanced maximum take-off weight
of 7,480kg (16,500lb) and the 250s
at 6,090kg, says Textron Aviation.
Both models can transport patients quickly, over long distances and from unimproved runways, ?which allows easier
operation in remote locations
Textron Aviation
Diamond Aircraft
T
Operator has order for eight 250s
CERTIFICATION KATE SARSFIELD LONDON
Europe approves updated P2008
T
ecnam has secured European
validation for the second-generation version of its P2008JC piston-single, 10 years after the twoseat, high-wing type was launched.
The Italian airframer is now
preparing to deliver the first example to Polish flight training
academy and long-time customer
Bartolini Air.
The P2008JC MkII was
launched in 2017 and features a
number of enhancements, including a Garmin G3X Touch flightdeck equipped with synthetic vi-
sion; an improved interior
lighting system featuring both
ambient light and dimmer switches; enhanced seating; redesigned
doors; and the choice of a two- or
three-bladed propeller. The latter
offering is likely to appeal to those
owners who operate into noisecontrolled airfields, says Tecnam.
Bartolini has an order for seven
P2008JC MkIIs, which will be
added to its fleet of eight piston
singles ? including six two-seat
P2002JFs and a four-seat P2010 ?
and three P2006T piston-twins. ?
9-15 January 2018 | Flight International | 21
DATA VIEW
Driven
by Dubai
Between the firming of tentative deals made at last year?s Paris air show and major orders
booked at Dubai, November emerged as a very busy month for the main manufacturers
GRAHAM DUNN & ANTOINE FAFARD
LONDON
22 | Flight International | 9-15 January 2018
CDB Aviation ordered a combined 101
aircraft, including 56 from the Boeing range
New orders, November 2017
Avolon
FedEx
CDB Aviation
CDB Aviation
FedEx
ALAFCO
Avolon
CDB Aviation
CDB Aviation
Azerbaijan Airlines
CDB Aviation
CemAir
Ethiopian Airlines
Nordic Aviation Capital
737 Max 8
Cessna 408
737 Max 8
A320neo
ATR 72-600
737 Max 8
737 Max 10
A321neo
787-9
787-8
737 Max 10
Q400
777 Freighter
Q400
55
50
44
30
30
20
20
15
8
5
4
2
2
2
Source: Flight Fleets Analyzer
Note: Information for known customers
that the entry into service of its new cargo aircraft is planned for 2020. FedEx also placed an
order for 30 ATR 72-600 turboprop freighters ?
becoming launch customer for the variant ?
while CemAir and Nordic Aviation Capital
both ordered a pair of Bombardier Q400s.
Boeing
A
Dubai air show-fuelled November
was the second busiest month of
2017 for new aircraft orders, according to preliminary data from Flight
Fleets Analyzer, trailing only June ? which was
boosted by the Le Bourget deal frenzy.
A total of 288 new commitments were
booked in November, while there were 42
cancellations; a further 20 swaps were made.
Much of the activity involved the firming of
tentative deals disclosed during June?s Paris air
show, including business from lessors Avolon
and CDB Aviation Lease Finance.
The latter alone was responsible for just over
100 new orders ? a mixture of Airbus A320�
neo-family jets (45), Boeing 737 Max aircraft
(48) and 787s (eight) ? and also swapped 17
A320ceos in favour of the re-engined variant.
Narrowbody orders during November comprised 143 737 Max aircraft and 45 A320neofamily aircraft.
In addition to the 101 aircraft ordered by
CDB Aviation, aircraft lessor Avolon firmed a
memorandum of understanding for 55 737
Max 8s, plus another 20 Max 10s initially
signed during the Paris air show.
While both these deals were finalised at the
Dubai show, most of the sales activity at the
event was in the form of preliminary orders
which are still to be formally booked. There
were over 850 commercial aircraft orders and
options disclosed during Dubai, but less than
15% of these were firm orders, including Airbus?s show-closer for 430 A320s and Boeing?s
sale of up to 225 737 Max aircraft to Flydubai:
both of which advanced in December.
In the widebody sector, Boeing logged 16
orders, including five 787s from Azerbaijan
Airlines and two 777 Freighters from
璄thiopian Airlines.
Regional aircraft orders in the month
璱ncluded 50 Cessna 408 SkyCouriers placed by
FedEx Express: the new twin-turboprop?s
launch customer. Textron Aviation announced
At the end of November, the overall order
backlog stood at 14,489, up 134 on the previous month.
There were 159 commercial aircraft deliveries in November: 11% more than the same
month a year earlier.
DELIVERY SHIFT
Operators in the Asia-Pacific region took 72
aircraft, while European and North American
carriers received 37 and 32 units, respectively.
There were 105 narrowbody aircraft delivered in November, while 39 widebodies were
shipped during the month. Regional deliveries for turboprop and jet types totalled 10 and
five units, respectively.
The commercial fleet now consists of just
over 28,400 aircraft in service, of which 92%
are for passenger operations.
The in-service fleet for carriers based in the
Asia-Pacific region has recently overtaken
that of North America, to become the biggest
market in the world. The latest figures
璬emonstrate the gap has already widened, as
Asia-Pacific carriers now operate 59 more
璦ircraft than those in North America. ?
flightglobal.com
ORDERS & DELIVERIES
Commercial in-service fleet by
region
Commercial monthly net orders, November 2016-2017
Units
550
7%
5%
5%
24%
450
28,436
350
Total
250
30%
29%
150
50
Source: Flight Fleets Analyzer
-50
Nov-16 Dec-16 Jan-17 Feb-17 Mar-17 Apr-17 May-17 Jun-17 Jul-17 Aug-17 Sep-17 Oct-17 Nov-17
Source: Flight Fleets Analyzer
Narrowbody
Regional
Turboprop
Widebody
Asia-Pacific
8,472
North America
8,408
Europe
6,763
Latin America
2,048
Middle East
1,442
Africa
1,303
Commercial aircraft order backlog
by manufacturer
Commercial monthly deliveries, November 2016-2017
Units
250
4%
3%
3%
5%
39%
200
14,489
Total
150
100
46%
50
Source: Flight Fleets Analyzer
0
Nov-16 Dec-16 Jan-17 Feb-17 Mar-17 Apr-17 May-17 Jun-17 Jul-17 Aug-17 Sep-17 Oct-17 Nov-17
Source: Flight Fleets Analyzer
Narrowbody
Regional
Turboprop
Widebody
Airbus
6,589
Boeing
5,621
Comac
504
Embraer
437
Bombardier
424
Other
914
In focus: fleet evolution for the A380 vs the 747
Total fleet and stored aircraft
Total fleet (in-service and stored aircraft)
Stored aircraft
1,000
25%
800
20%
600
15%
400
10%
200
5%
0
0%
Dec-08 Dec-09 Dec-10
Dec-11
Dec-12 Dec-13 Dec-14 Dec-15 Dec-16 Dec-17
Source: Flight Fleets Analyzer
Total fleet for the
A380
flightglobal.com
Total fleet for the
747
Stored fleet for the A380
Stored fleet for the 747
The Airbus A380 and Boeing 747 are the two
competing ultra-high-capacity airliners. The
jumbo was introduced in 1970 with Pan Am,
while Airbus?s double-decker entered commercial use with Singapore Airlines in 2007.
Focusing on a 10-year period, the total
fleet for the 747 has fallen from 970 units in
2008 to just under 600 aircraft at the end of
2017. By contrast, there were 10 A380s in
service at the end of 2008, shortly after its
introduction into service. It passed the 100
aircraft in service mark in 2013 and the fleet
today stands at just over 220 units.
The parked ratio for the 747 was 14% in
2008 and averaged 19% over the next nine
years ? reflecting its longer heritage. As of
end-November 2017, the backlog for the
747-8 was just 12 of the freighter variant,
while 96 A380s were on order. ?
9-15 January 2018 | Flight International | 23
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ROMANIA
Special report
ROMANIA
ON THE RISE
CONTENTS
28Airbus Helicopters? big build up
29Producing benefits in Brasov
30Aerostar shines on
31Airline?s Blue sky thinking
Airbus Helicopters
Airbus Helicopters
Aerostar
Romania may not have had the aerospace muscle of
neighbours Poland and Czechoslovakia during the Cold
War, but from the 1950s it was a sizeable player in both
rotorcraft and military maintenance, repair and overhaul,
centred in the cities of Brasov and Bacau. After a difficult
period following the fall of communism, the industry has
enjoyed a renaissance, thanks mainly to Airbus investment
and the success of local champion Aerostar. Together with
a handful of smaller enterprises in the supply chain, the
sector employs about 5,000 people. We have visited
Romania?s two aerospace hubs, as well as the offices of its
leading independent airline, to discover what the
prospects are for the industry in this corner of Europe
(From top) Commercial maintenance, repair and overhaul is an increasingly important segment for Aerostar; Airbus Helicopters has
been servicing rotorcraft in Brasov since early this century; Romania?s replacements for its Super Pumas will be built in the city
flightglobal.com
9-15 January 2018 | Flight International | 27
ROMANIA
Special report
ROTORCRAFT
Big build-up
for Brasov
Airbus Helicopters has expanded its
in-country footprint with a plant to
assemble a new version of the Super
Puma for Romania?s armed forces
MURDO MORRISON BRASOV
28 | Flight International | 9-15 January 2018
The Romanian MRO operation makes some 80% of its revenue from foreign customers
mania began expanding as operators from further afield sent aircraft for more complex refurbishments. This year, more than 80% of
the unit?s revenues will come from outside
Romania for the first time, says Durand.
CORE COMPETENCY
Airbus Helicopters Romania ? as the MRO
operation is now known ? is qualified to work
on smaller types such as the H120, H125,
H130 and H135, but the bulk of its work
comes from the Super Puma. Several ? in various states of refurbishment ? stood in the
main workshop when we visited. ?It is our
core competency,? says Durand, who is responsible for both the MRO operation and the
new factory. Alongside its plans to launch
production of the H215M, Airbus Helicopters
also offers an upgrade for legacy Super Pumas
to ?H215 standard?, although Durand thinks
upgrades will fill only a small part of a potential demand for 1,000 Super Puma-sized aircraft, a segment where the main rivals are the
Airbus Helicopters
f you build it, they will come. Airbus Helicopters might have been following the advice of the film Field of Dreams when it invested almost ?52 million ($62 million) in a
factory in Romania in November 2015. Two
years on, the Brasov plant is ready to produce
its first H215M, another iteration of the venerable Super Puma. All that is missing is a kickoff order from Bucharest. The Franco-German
manufacturer ? which has a relationship with
Romania?s rotorcraft industry that began in
the early days of the Ceau?escu era ? built the
final assembly line in the Transylvanian city
in anticipation of a sale to the domestic customer. An order would extend the production
life of the rebranded AS332 C1e/L1e and help
retain in Romania a competence in helicopter
engineering that stretches back to the 1960s.
At time of writing, an order for the 16 examples of the 8.6t maximum take-off weight
type that Airbus Helicopters says it needs to
launch production looked likely, with media
reports suggesting Romania had made a decision. Two years since Airbus Helicopters unveiled the factory, recent indications had
looked promising. In August, the company
announced in Bucharest, in front of French
president Emmanuel Macron and his Romanian counterpart Klaus Iohannis, that longtime local partner IAR would be prime contractor for any future H215M orders by the
Romanian defence ministry for 15 years. Later
that month, Serge Durand, managing director
of Airbus Helicopters Industries, told FlightGlobal that ?we are waiting for a strong signal
from the Romanian government?.
The 10,000m2 (108,000ft2) factory ? which
will have an initial capacity of 15 aircraft a
year ? may be new, but Airbus Helicopters is
no newcomer in Romania. As Aerospatiale, it
licensed IAR to build the Alouette III and
Puma ? more than 360 were delivered in the
1970s and 1980s alongside IAR?s own products. In 2002, with Romanian helicopter production ending, the then-Eurocopter
launched a 51%-owned joint venture with
IAR to maintain, repair and overhaul helicopters in a facility next door to IAR. Originally
focused on the domestic fleet, Eurocopter Ro-
Airbus Helicopters
I
Airbus Helicopters opened an assembly
facility next to its site in Brasov in 2015
Mil Mi-17 and Sikorsky S-70.
?The market is huge, particularly if you
look at the UN [and disaster relief],? says Durand. ?To get 20% over 15 years is not so ambitious, although it?s possible we can get
more.? A Romanian order would be ?a signal
to the market?, he believes, and prompt further interest from operators involved in areas
such as firefighting, aerial observation, medical evacuation, logging and disaster relief. He
describes the H215M as a ?workhorse? that
can be operated and maintained simply.
?Technology-wise, it?s not an [NH Industries]
NH90, but it?s robust with classic technology,? he adds. ?It can be maintained in the
field. Pilots love it because of the automatic
pilot and mechanics love its simplicity. I
think there will be more demand for this kind
of available, reliable aircraft.?
Romania itself flies about 60 ageing Pumas
and Super Pumas, some up to 40 years old.
Other government entities, such as the health
and interior ministries, also operate Pumas of
a similar vintage. While it is unlikely Romanian customers will commit to orders in the
high double figures in the short term, the latest agreement with IAR ? an extension of a
earlier five-year deal ? runs beyond the realistic working life of the current fleet. ?Most of
the country?s helicopters will have to be replaced within 10 to 15 years,? notes Durand.
Under the agreement, IAR?s site next door
will carry out any military customisations.
The deal works both ways. The state-owned
company has a separate deal with Bell Helicopter to prime with the US manufacturer to
offer the AH-1Z Viper for a Romanian requirement thought to be for 24 attack helicopters. ??
flightglobal.com
ROMANIA
Special report
?We have a 15-year succession
plan so we are able to transfer
experience and knowledge?
Serge Durand
Managing director, Airbus Helicopters Romania
?We have a plan for the next 15 years, a
succession plan for the transfer of experience
and knowledge,? notes Durand. ?Building
new helicopter skills is not so easy.? He also
believes expatriate Romanians with aerospace
experience will be tempted to return with the
promise of a secure career at home, lower salaries compensated for by lower living costs
and quality of life in an attractive, prosperous
city surrounded by heavily-forested mountains dotted with ski resorts and picture postcard castles. Several have already been lured
back, including the head of Durand?s design
office. A local airport would help make moving to Brasov more attractive, he admits. Unusually for an aerospace hub, the city has only
a grass airfield and the nearest airport is several hours? drive away in Bucharest.
At the same time, Durand is keen to develop a local supply chain to support H215M assembly and possibly compete for work on
other Airbus Helicopters programmes. Although Romania has barely made its own rotorcraft this century, there are still small companies in the Brasov area and beyond ?with
all the competencies we need to build a helicopter?, he says. For a country whose aerospace industry had to fight for its life after the
end of communism, it would be a real turnaround. ?There is a real industrial network
here,? says Durand. ?It means Romania can
have autonomy in a small club of helicopter
manufacturers in the world.? ?
flightglobal.com
AEROSTRUCTURES MURDO MORRISON BRASOV
Premium Aerotec investment produces the benefits
Its helicopters division is not
the only Airbus unit to set up
shop in Romania. In 2011,
Premium Aerotec, the group?s
autonomous aerostructures
subsidiary, opened its first factory outside Germany next to
Airbus Helicopters in Brasov.
The plant has since almost
doubled in size to 26,000m2
(280,000ft2) and has just expanded its workforce from
around 850 to 1,000.
Meanwhile, in a trendy tech
cluster in Bucharest, Airbus
Defence & Space employs just
under 100 engineers, working
on research and development
for the wider business.
Established in 2007 to prime a
border security scheme for
Romania, the operation was
retained when that project
ended early this decade to
safeguard expertise.
While the sites in the
Transylvanian city and the capital?s ?Silicon Valley? are very
different, they are both focused on supporting their parent organisations, with little
interface with customers or the
supply chain in Romania.
But that could change.
Until now, the plant has been
an ?extended workbench?
with raw materials shipped in
secure consignments from the
company?s sites in Germany,
and output ? such as the 6m
(19.7ft)-long keel beam and
cargo door frame for the
Airbus A320 family ? delivered back.
However, Edmundus
Rudloff, head of assembly and
maintenance at Premium
Aerotec Romania, hopes the
business can secure accreditation as a production organisation, a move that will allow
it to source its own stocks,
possibly from local suppliers.
?It would be an empowerment for Brasov,? he says,
?similar to what [Airbus sister
aerostructures supplier] Stelia
has done in Tunisia.?
Premium Aerotec decided
Premium Aerotec
?? In August, Bucharest submitted a request
for information on pricing and availability to
Washington DC. However, IAR can work only
with Airbus Helicopters on any pitch involving a medium or heavy type, notes Durand.
?That makes us more confident?, he says.
Airbus Helicopters Romania employs 170
people with a further 30 undergoing training
and carrying out preliminary work in the new
factory. Once assembly is at 15 aircraft a year,
the workforce will need to rise to 350, says
Durand. Airbus Helicopters is working with
local education facilities to train potential recruits ? 28 have started a tailored technician
course at the city?s technical college. With
many of the remaining workers from IAR?s
days as a helicopter manufacturer approaching retirement, Airbus Helicopters is keen to
nurture a new generation of specialists ? the
demographic time bomb means it is vital to
secure a production contract for the H215M
as soon as possible.
The 6m A320 keel beam is the factory?s flagship product
to set up its first overseas factory in 2009, ?when it looked
like we were going to run out
of capacity in Germany?, explains Rudloff. Thanks to
Airbus?s long relationship with
local helicopter company IAR,
it made sense to choose
Brasov, a city of 300,000 people with an industrial heritage.
There was state aid on offer
and a local university, while a
long-established Germanspeaking community also
made it attractive.
?It was a big employment
boost for Brasov,? says
Rudloff. The company has
helped develop a Germanstyle technical curriculum for
high school students who
want to work for Premium
Aerotec at 18. Today, Brasov
is ?one of the best performing
plants for Airbus?, he says.
?It?s efficient and competitive
with a good working culture.?
At Airbus Defence &
Space, managing director
Flaviu Raducanu says cosmopolitan Bucharest has been a
magnet for high-tech investors ? neighbours include
Honeywell, IBM, Oracle and
HP ? drawn by competitive
salaries, low living costs and
high numbers of IT graduates.
For millennials, it is a ?good
place to be?, says Raducanu.
?It?s very digital and there?s a
dynamic atmosphere.?
Unlike Premium Aerotec,
where staff produce a small
number of large-volume
parts, Raducanu?s scientists
and engineers are working in
a virtual environment with
colleagues in Toulouse,
Friedrichshafen and Newport
on a ?vast range of projects?
in areas such as networks, cyber security, command and
control and spaceflight.
According to Raducanu,
the Bucharest unit operates as
a ?small company?, even
though all its work is done for
Airbus Defence & Space. ?In
many ways it is harder to sell
internally than to an external
market,? he says. ?Our focus
is on delivering on time and
on quality to that internal customer. Everyone knows that
their job depends on what we
can deliver. It keeps you fit.?
The increasing integration
of Airbus means Raducanu
sees the possibility of work
coming from the wider business. ?We have expanded
from doing pure security to a
wider defence and space
portfolio. Further growth [into
working with other Airbus divisions] could come because
it makes sense,? he says. And,
although all its ?8.5 million
($10 million) revenue comes
from ?exports?, Raducanu
does not rule out working
again for the state. ?We are
confident we will see more
opportunities coming from
Romania,? he says, ?and we
are ready to support that.? ?
9-15 January 2018 | Flight International | 29
ROMANIA
Special report
MANUFACTURING
Aerostar
shines on
Romania?s main aerospace player
has built businesses in civil MRO and
aerostructures, while retaining its
legacy role in military support
MURDO MORRISON BACAU
O
As well as predominantly Airbus suppliers
GKN and Premium Aerotec, Aerostar now
numbers Boeing commercial aerostructures
specialist Avcorp in Canada among its customers. Meanwhile, in landing gear and hydraulic systems, its other area of manufacturing, Aerostar is the sole supplier of landing
gear for the Daher TBM family of single-engine turboprops, and has a strong position on
the A320 family and A330, manufacturing
components such as steering, retraction and
unlocking actuators for Safran Landing Systems (formerly Messier-Bugatti-Dowty).
?We will continue this way to
increase our prospects rather
than focusing in just one area?
Grigore Filip
President and general director, Aerostar
Without a large local supply chain to rely
on, Aerostar is ?pretty vertically integrated?
on the manufacturing side, notes Filip. While
it has not dabbled in areas such as 3D printing
or composites, focusing instead on aluminium
and other metals, it has invested in a series of
special processes such as heat treatment, shot
peening, and surface coating. Last year, a new
tartaric sulphur anodising line, and an automated paint facility were approved by customers and began production. ?In the field of detailed parts, this range of capabilities gives us a ??
Aerostar
n first appearance, Aerostar?s sprawling
complex of buildings next to Bacau airport may reflect its heritage as a state-run enterprise focused on supporting the Romanian
defence forces. But the country?s biggest aerospace company, founded 65 years ago, has reinvented itself in the past two decades from a
potentially rusting post-communist relic to a
stalwart of the second tier of the aerospace
supply chain with customers including GKN
and Airbus unit Premium Aerotec. The company, which employs around 2,200 people,
also has a growing civil maintenance, repair
and overhaul business specialising in Airbus
and Boeing.
Although it retains a legacy land systems
and military MRO business working mainly on
Romanian projects, sales to foreign customers
made up just over three-quarters of its $90.3
million revenues in 2016. Grigore Filip, the
company?s veteran president and general director, who has steered the company?s progress
since it was divested by the state and floated on
the Bucharest stock exchange at the turn of the
century, wants to push that export share to
85%. Before privatisation, Aerostar derived almost all its income from its home market.
Manufacturing ? aerostructures and landing gear components ? accounts for just under
half of Aerostar?s revenues, with the rest split
roughly equally between civil MRO and defence activities. Filip admits that the company structure may seem unorthodox, but insists that having a foothold in three sectors is
a strength. ?Certainly, looking from the outside, this mix of business lines may seem difficult to manage,? he says. ?But we will continue in this way to increase our prospects for
growth, rather than focusing in just one area.?
Aerostar?s presence in manufacturing is impressive, given it barely made commercial
parts 15 years ago. ?We were completely new
in civil aviation,? recalls Filip. Starting with
(now GKN-owned) Fokker, it has won positions in the Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier, and
Dassault supply chains. Its aerostructures
portfolio includes the shroud box for the Airbus A320 and A321 wing ? it produces some
60% of Airbus?s requirements ? around 40
shipsets per month and ramping up fast, says
Filip. It also makes the Gulfstream G450?s
landing gear doors, as well as spoilers, vanes
and airbrakes for the Dassault Falcon 7X/8X.
Aerostar considers itself the leading commercial MRO house in the southeast Europe region, despite having a number of competitors
30 | Flight International | 9-15 January 2018
flightglobal.com
ROMANIA
Special report
strong advantage,? says Filip.
Although a smaller contributor to the business, commercial MRO has been another success for Aerostar since it launched this activity in 2003, with Filip claiming ?we are now
the most important maintenance base in the
region?, despite the presence of rivals such as
Lufthansa Technik in Sofia, Bulgaria, and
Turkish Airlines? Turkish Technic.
With seven bays at Bacau, the company
carries out around 80 heavy checks a year on
Airbus and Boeing narrowbodies. Customers
include TUI, Royal Air Maroc and Turkish
carrier Pegasus. It is one of the first MRO
houses approved to retrofit the Split Scimitar
winglet on the Boeing 737NG and has carried
out several installations. Aerostar will also
carry out what it claims will be the first ?contracted overhaul? of an A320neo in April.
In 2019, the company plans to open a fourbay hangar at Iasi, 130km (80 miles) north of
Bacau, and is looking further afield for expansion. ?We may go east, to areas where aviation
is growing, like India,? says Filip. While the
company has ?no identified solution?, he suggests that ?in the horizon of 10 years, something will happen?. Over its 15 years in commercial MRO, Aerostar has achieved ?100%
on-time delivery?, he says. ?This is our point
of difference. While quality of work should be
perfect, and cost is also important ? and in
our case it can be a little bit lower [than competitors] ? without on-time delivery, cost has
no impact.?
On the military side, Aerostar?s last flagship
programme was the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG21 Lancer conversion. Working with Elbit
Systems of Israel, Aerostar carried out 110 upgrades of the Russian fighter for the Romanian
air force between 1995 and 2003. Although
the project itself ended 15 years ago, there are
still 25 MiG-21s in active service with Romania and around five of them require a 90-day
deep overhaul every year, so supporting that
type ? and MiG-21s operated by other nations
? remains an important part of Aerostar?s
business mix.
In addition, Aerostar manufactures components for ground defence systems, including
vehicle-based rocket launchers, almost entirely for the domestic customer. Under the
terms of Aerostar?s privatisation in 2000, Bucharest retained a golden share, entitling the
government to a veto in matters affecting the
defence production capabilities of the company. ?The military side is not as significant
as in the past,? admits Filip. ?But it is still one
of our commitments to keep our presence in
this area to deliver any major contract from
the Romanian military.?
Filip says the company?s expansion in aerostructures and MRO has allowed it to train
around 450 recruits in the past five years, and
that it has managed to hold onto most of them
once they have gained experience ? despite
the temptation for European Aviation Safety
Agency-accredited technicians to seek higherpaid work in Western Europe. However, he
insists Aerostar ? and the rest of Romania?s
aerospace industry ? cannot simply count on
a lower-cost workforce over the next decade
to remain competitive. ?There will probably
continue to be some difference in labour costs
[compared with other countries], but this cannot be the only differentiator,? he says. ?We
have to focus too on investment and better
planning and organisation so we can achieve
strong performance indicators.? ?
AIRLINES
Blue sky
thinking
The future is bright for the country?s
biggest private carrier, four years
after its administration, as it rolls out
ambitious fleet and route plans
MURDO MORRISON BUCHAREST
B
lue Air is targeting a fleet of 50 aircraft
within ?three or four years? as it builds
on its reputation as Romania?s leading airline
brand by consolidating its presence at foreign
bases in Larnaca, Liverpool and Turin.
The privately owned carrier operates 29
Boeing 737s, split between Classics and NGs
? four more aircraft than troubled, stateowned Tarom, according to Flight Fleets Analyzer, making it Romania?s biggest airline ?
and has 12 737 Max jets on order for delivery
from the second quarter of 2019.
Blue Air?s recent performance and aspirations represent a notable turnaround for the
13-year-old airline, which entered administration in 2013 after its then-parent group
went into difficulties over unpaid construction contracts. At the time, Blue Air operated
a six-strong fleet from Bucharest and Bacau.
Under new owners, backed by private equity, the airline has since 2014 developed a
strategy around establishing an extensive domestic network in a large country characterised by poor road and rail infrastructure, linking Bucharest, Cluj, Constanta, Iasi, Oradea
and Timisoara. In addition, it serves more
than 30 cities from Bucharest and more than
20 from its other Romanian bases in Bacau,
Cluj, Constanta and Iasi.
Aerostar
CASELLE BASE
Veteran executive Filip has steered Aerostar towards new markets in the past 15 years
flightglobal.com
Blue Air has also established operations at
Turin Caselle ? moving in with five 737s after
Alitalia?s departure, handling a million passengers a year across 20 routes ? as well as the
main Cyprus gateway, where it has three aircraft. A 737-800 has been based at Liverpool
since early 2017, and this year Blue Air will
begin flying two Italian routes from Sardinia?s
Alghero airport, under a public service obligation contract.
Further European beachheads are possible.
?We are analysing all the opportunities outside Romania,? says chief commercial officer
Tudor Constantinescu, who adds: ?We always
expect a lot of co-operation from any airport,
and it is not just about money.? Around a
third of Blue Air passengers currently do not
fly to or from Romania, and Constantinescu
9-15 January 2018 | Flight International | 31
ROMANIA
Special report
AirTeamImages
Blue Air flies 29 737s ? split between
Classics and NGs ? making it bigger
than flag-carrier Tarom, and also has
12 Max variants on order
expects this proportion to grow.
He dislikes the term ?hybrid? to describe a
business model under which Blue Air has
adopted features traditionally associated with
both full-service and no-frills airlines in a
market where it competes aggressively with
fast-growing eastern European specialist Wizz
Air as well as local rival Tarom.
For instance, Blue Air provides a complimentary meal service on its longest routes
from Larnaca, and the ability to prepay for
meals on other flights. Cultural expectations
have played a role in its decisions. When it
launched routes from Liverpool it began offering free food, but ?because the UK is a mature,
low-cost market, passengers were happy to
pay?, says Constantinescu.
Blue Air also offers through-ticketing on
its own flights and is interlining with other
carriers, including TAP and Alitalia. At the
same time, the airline operates all-economy
cabins on its all-737 fleet, and passengers
pay for check-in baggage, although those
paying premium fares have access to lounges
and can check luggage for free. Tickets are
sold through travel agents as well as on its
website.
?We do not have the size of a Ryanair or
Wizz, so we are able to be very specialised,?
said Constantinescu when he spoke to FlightGlobal at Blue Air?s offices in a smart new
32 | Flight International | 9-15 January 2018
business campus near Bucharest?s Henri
Coanda International airport. ?We don?t think
of ourselves as hybrid. Most of what we provide is similar to a full-service carrier.?
While the proportion of its passengers who
connect through a Blue Air hub is small ?
some 20,000 out of 500,000 a month ? Constantinescu expects this to grow as customers
begin to realise the available options. ?Our
network is designed as point-to-point, but it
means passengers can connect from London
to Larnaca every day through Bucharest ? our
direct service is five days a week,? he says.
?We do not have the size of a
Ryanair or Wizz Air, so we are
able to be very specialised ?
Tudor Constantinescu
Chief commercial officer, Blue Air
In addition, he believes there is a ?big potential? in interlining. Blue Air, which joined
IATA in 2016, offers connections with Alitalia, TAP and Air Moldova, and is ?working to
implement codesharing? for access to longhaul flights and in-country networks through
the Blue Air booking system. He adds: ?Interlining adds a lot of value for us. We are putting a lot of effort into building relationships
[with other airlines].?
Constantinescu says Blue Air is ?paying
more attention to high-value customers? by
introducing a loyalty scheme that will be promoted on a soon-to-be-relaunched website.
Registered regular customers who pay the
highest fares will be automatically allocated
the best seats, with middle seats left empty
where possible.
Blue Air has begun to phase out its Classics
? three -400s were due to leave the fleet during 2017 ? and is adding NGs, with aircraft
numbers set to reach 32 by summer, says Constantinescu. These new types will be a mix of
owned aircraft and others under financial and
operating leases.
Unusually for an emerging carrier, Blue Air
also carries out its own and some third-party
MRO, employing 350 people at a facility at
Bucharest?s downtown Baneasa airport. The
carrier plans to establish a second maintenance centre at Henri Coanda International.
So far, by focusing on its domestic market
and underserved European airports such as
Larnaca, Liverpool and Turin, Blue Air has
managed to fly largely under the radar of the
threat posed by Wizz Air and low-cost giants
Ryanair and EasyJet. How much more scope
the Romanian outfit has to grow what it calls its
?smart flying? offering in the increasingly
crowded skies of Europe remains to be seen. ?
flightglobal.com
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STRAIGHT&LEVEL
From yuckspeak to tales of yore, send your offcuts to murdo.morrison@flightglobal.com
REX/Shutterstock
Hell finally
freezes over
Ryanair recognising unions may
have seemed a Christmas
change of heart of Scroogeian
proportions, but it was worries
over a ruinous festive pilots?
strike ? after last autumn?s
cancellations fiasco ? that forced
Michael O?Leary?s U-turn.
It is the latest reverse ferret
from the once give-no-ground
maverick. What next? ?Not
printed your boarding pass? We
can do it.? Or ?Delayed in dutyfree? We won?t go without you.?
Maybe even: ?Packed a bit too
much? Ah, forget about it this
time. We?ll squeeze it in.?
Goodwill to all?
President Trump?s ridiculous
claim that he ?led the charge?
against an ?assault? on the
supposedly politically incorrect
phrase ?Merry Christmas? was
always going to be pompous
codswallop, but the many
examples of proof include one
from an unlikely source.
One state-owned flag-carrier?s
homepage carried a seasonal
design featuring a decorated
sprig and the very same
expression, ?Merry Christmas?,
alongside an air ticket giftwrapped in red ribbon.
Which airline poured wet
slush on Trump?s piffle with this
prominent public display of a
traditional Christian blessing?
Step forward Iran Air, which,
according to Trump, is a victim
of a ?terrible deal?, sealed during
the Obama administration, that
put many sanctions on ice and
finally allowed citizens of the
Islamic Republic to fly on safer
modern aircraft.
Miss Gertrude Hinds has
had the honour of being
fined 10s. by
the Kent
magistrates, with
the added
warning of worse to follow
in case of repetition, for
photographing a fallen
Gotha without official
sanction.
Fuel shortage
On the [Russian] southern
front, from the middle Don
to south of
Stalingrad, the
Russians claim
that in six weeks
they captured 542 aircraft
besides other booty. This
suggests that the Germans
are short of petrol.
As well as being PERSONALLY RESPONSIBLE for Zero
deaths in airline travel in 2017, I can also take 100%
credit for turning Trump Shuttle into world?s MOST
SUCCESSFUL EVER airline. FACT!!!
F-111s in doubt
Cheesy jet
Buon appetito
Air Partner has ?enjoyed a very
successful year flying its MICE
clients to and from a wide range
of events, meetings and product
launches? in Europe. Its release
goes on at great length about
how the charter specialist has
delighted this customer segment
? without anywhere explaining
what MICE clients actually are
(those who travel for meetings,
incentives, conferences and
exhibitions, it would seem).
Otherwise, we fancy that
Mouse-cow might be among the
favourite destinations, although
Cat-wick would be best avoided.
Air Partner might even
consider widening its rodent
appeal, with flights to Hamsterdam, B-rat-islava, or Gerbil-tra.
Beleaguered Alitalia is not going
to be winning many industry
awards these days, but the
Italian flag-carrier, which is
breathing on life-support, has
been served with the ?Best
Airline Cuisine? award from
Global Traveler magazine.
At last, one area where the inadministration airline is not
pasta its best.
Let?s hope Sanctions Clause isn?t coming to town
It is evident that a fierce
tussle is being waged in the
Cabinet over the
RAF order for 50
F-111s.
Cancellation or
reduction of the F-111
order presents many
difficulties, not least of them
the prospect of swingeing
cancellation charges.
Suggestions that the order
might be reduced to 30
aircraft bear little credence.
Flight autonomy
All or nothing
We think we know what Eric
Lindblad of Boeing is getting at
in this quote about airlines?
reaction to Seattle?s new flagship
type, the 777X. But on first
reading, suggests Rod
Holdridge, it does sound like
executive doublespeak:
?If you look at the exact
airplane that we have on paper
today? it falls short of all their
desires, but exceeds many of
their desires.?
Yuckspeak
flightglobal.com
Fined for photos
?Aircrew conditioning facility?
= gym (heard at RAF Marham).
American Airlines has taken
the first steps towards
operations using
?autonomous
aircraft? ?
operated
independently of groundbased navigational aids ? by
making the first revenue
flight using on-board
vertical navigation (VNAV)
and flight-guidance data.
100-YEAR ARCHIVE
Every issue of Flight
from 1909 onwards
can be viewed online at
flightglobal.com/archive
9-15 January 2018 | Flight International | 35
LETTERS
flight.international@flightglobal.com
CHALLENGE
The opinions on this page do not
necessarily represent those of the editor.
Letters without a full postal address supplied may not be published. Letters may
also be published on flightglobal.com
and must be no longer than 250 words.
Four factors in
Concorde crash
Following your Concorde retrospective (Flight International,
12燚ecember 2017-1 January), I
feel compelled to write about a
documentary shown recently on
Channel 5 about the fatal crash of
Air France flight 4590. The programme, called The Concorde
Air Disaster, was devoid of the
truth and clutching at straws.
After the crash I examined the
records of the aircraft and found
four reasons for the disaster.
First, the aircraft was on a private charter. The baggage limit
didn?t apply. Whatever the passengers brought was爈oaded.
Second, the aircraft was filled
with fuel. Normally fuel is burnt
whilst waiting for take-off. In this
case the aircraft went directly to
the runway.
Third, the landing gears had
just been fitted after overhaul.
However, the left-hand main gear
was fitted to the aircraft with the
spacer missing. This meant that
the landing-gear bogie was not
facing directly forward, but at an
angle of 11 o?clock. This would
have the effect of pulling the aircraft to the left on take-off ? con-
It is not clear why Bob
Owen (Flight International,
2-8 January) should find my
letter, published a week earlier, regarding Airbus wing
manufacture in the UK
?strange?.
Apart from suggesting
On a wing and a prayer
that Flight International
should avoid producing biased articles on political matters, I
was also suggesting that Airbus ? not ?we? ? would be taking
a big risk if, in a fit of pique, it tried giving wing design, manufacture and continuous product development to an inexperienced organisation. It is also not clear what ?evidence? I
ignored.
Biased comments by remoaners are not ?evidence?. A long
career ? 56 years and still going strong ? in the aerospace industry has taught me to look to the stars in hope.
Peter Gambardella
Farnborough, UK
firmed by tyre marks on the edge
of the runway.
Finally, engine records show
that the reheat spray ring was
changed very recently on the
port inboard engine that caught
fire. The reheat controller is operated prior to take-off and supplies fuel to the afterburner for
take-off. When deselected, the
fuel supply is stopped and air
purged through the pipe to remove residual fuel. In this instance, the joint relaxed and fuel
under pressure sprayed out at the
joint over the exhaust diffuser
and caught fire. The only way to
stop it was to deselect reheat.
The documentary stated that
the cause of the crash was a piece
of metal on the runway from a
Continental Airlines McDonnell
Douglas DC-10. Two firemen at
the side of the runway confirmed
that the piece of metal was found
to the right of Concorde, so it was
behind the supersonic aircraft
when it took off. Concorde did
not run over the metal.
Four reasons for the tragic
event. When combined, the aircraft had no chance. Shutting
down engine number four was
the final straw.
Name and address withheld
A better engine
In 1985, when a junior pilot in
the Royal Air Force?s 11 Sqn, I
got airborne in an English
Electric F.6 Lightning on a basic
intercept training flight with
Steve Bridger, the Squadron
QWI [qualified weapons in-
Mike Freer
We welcome your letters on any
aspect of the aerospace industry.
Please write to:
The Editor, Flight International,
Quadrant House, The Quadrant,
Sutton, Surrey, SM2 5AS, UK
Or email:
flight.international@flightglobal.com
Airbus
?Biased? comments not evidence
structor]. We climbed from RAF
Binbrook to 35,000ft over Spurn
Head in dry power, and I noticed that his aircraft had lagged
behind by about 5,000ft.
The mission proceeded normally, but throughout, Bridger?s
aircraft appeared to be down on
power. There was no other sign
of trouble, both engines ran
smoothly enough, but on return
he snagged it.
Upon inspection, it became
apparent that one of the RollsRoyce Avon engines had been
badly damaged. Several fan
blades had been drawn through
the engine, damaging turbine
blades on the way out ? but it
had started, run smoothly and
got the aircraft home.
The Avon was trusted by pilots and flight engineers because
it had been built to the highest
standards. Lightning pilots
would happily shut down one
engine on the way home if really
tight for fuel.
Between the Avon years and
those of the Trent, R-R has lost
something. While the Trent is a
fantastically efficient engine, it
has not been designed and built
with the same care and attention
as the Avon.
The young men of 1985 are
now the old men of the airline
industry and we expect better
from R-R. The company needs to
get back to basics when it comes
to quality.
Matt Wood
Sandbach, Cheshire, UK
Lightning pilots would happily shut down one Avon to save fuel
Check out Flight International?s Image Store
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36 | Flight International | 9-15 January 2018
09/02/2017 11:46
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WORKING WEEK
WORK EXPERIENCE GREGG COHEN
Quest for a smarter, online cockpit
How did your career in aviation
begin?
When I graduated from college, I
was looking for a position in a
technology company. After a
number of interviews, I met with
Sperry Flight Systems, the company that later became Honeywell. It was after that interview
that I knew beyond doubt I wanted to work in aerospace.
How did you work your way up?
By taking difficult roles that noone else wanted. If there was a
challenging, ambiguous position
that needed definition, I took it.
Along the way, I had great mentors who provided input on the
skills I needed to learn to be successful in these positions.
What roles have you enjoyed the
most?
Positions where I was responsible for the business results like
delivery and quality, and financial results. I?ve had many roles
in my career like this, and I find
that I?m able to stretch myself
and use my background in supply chain, programme management and the financial skills I
picked up along the way. I?ve
also really enjoyed the positions
where I?ve had responsibility for
customer and product support.
As the new president of
BendixKing, what are your key
objectives for the company?
The first is a focus on execution
and enhanced product support
that maps to what our customers
are telling us they need. We?re
adopting a right and fast model,
grounded in making smart decisions to move the business for-
BendixKing
As the new president of Honeywell subsidiary BendixKing, Gregg Cohen is focused on bringing new
avionics products to market quickly, particularly where they meet the demand for in-flight connectivity
Cohen says he has relished taking on roles that others did not want
ward. We are focusing on introducing innovative technology for
general aviation pilots to help
simplify, streamline and enhance
flight safety. My second goal for
Bendix璌ing is accountability. I
want to revitalise the company?s
?culture of win?. A big part of
this is putting in place the right
structure and the right people to
reinvigorate the business so that
we can get back to doing what we
love: making flying easier and
more intuitive for pilots. We?ve
created a go-forward plan with
strategic milestones and goals to
hold sales and development
teams accountable.
What are the main challenges
facing the general aviation
avionics market?
I think of challenges more as
areas for innovation. One of the
biggest areas for innovation right
now is around connectivity.
You?re seeing that across the aerospace industry, and general aviation is no different. Pilots want
high-speed connectivity that
won?t break the bank. That?s why
we came up with AeroWave inflight internet. Pilots get highspeed connectivity but only pay
for what they need. However, it?s
not just about basic in-flight connectivity any more. There?s a larger story, and a unique challenge
in the general aviation space, and
that?s making the connected aircraft a reality for smaller planes
and smaller budgets. Bringing
more reliable connectivity to the
plane in order to increase aircraft
maintenance and safety is a big
challenge, but also a place we see
some really interesting innova-
tion happening. Everything we
make from now on should be
connected or have the capability
to be connected at some point.
There are many general aviation
pilots who use apps and other
third-party software, so we need
to think of ways that we can capitalise on this shift in general aviation and we need to make sure
our products will work with and
complement third-party software.
What technologies can we
expect from the industry over
the next decade?
Connectivity is going to be something that runs through every
product that comes out over the
next decade. We already have the
sensors on an aircraft monitoring
mechanical equipment like engines and APUs; now we?re connecting them and using that data
to make aircraft, pilots, maintainers and operators smarter. We
also already have sophisticated
avionics inside the instrument
panels, and these will be connected with new data sources
and applications to provide pilots and passengers with a new
range of connected services such
as global in-flight weather, flight
planning assistance, expert advisories and concierge service. n
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9-15 January 2018 | Flight International | 43
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Supporting Media Partners:
nd Aircraft
Group, the Austrian-based parent
company of one of Europe?s largest
general aviation manufacturers,
Diamond Aircraft Industries, and
its Canada-based sister.
The purchase, which also includes the company?s Austro Engine division, comes a year after
the Wanfeng Auto Holding subsidiary acquired a 60% stake in
the Canadian operation, and is
intended to assure the company?s
?continued long-term future?.
Diamond was created in 1996 as
a rebrand of Austria?s HOAC. The
motorglider maker had been acquired five years earlier by outgoing chief executive Christian Dries
and his family, who set about turning the company into a major developer of propeller aircraft.
More than 15 models and derivatives have been produced by
the Wiener Neustadt-headquartered airframer to date, including
the two-seat DA20 Katana and
four-seat DA40 piston singles, the
DA42 and DA62 piston-twins
and the short-lived D-JET singleengined personal jet.
flightglobal.com
Dries describes Diamond as
?my life?s work?, adding that ?the
right partner? needed to be found
in order to secure its longevity.
?Wanfeng and specifically
[chairman] Mr Bin Chen share my
vision of the future of general aviation,? Dries says. ?[It is] investing
for the right reasons, with a longterm strategy and resources to see
its vision through. I look forward to
seeing Diamond develop further,
and based on our successful yearlong partnership in Diamond Canada, I am fully satisfied that I leave
Diamond in very good hands.?
Under Wanfeng?s ownership,
work will continue on Diamond?s
latest models, including the in-development Dart 450 turboprop
trainer, scheduled to enter service
this year, and the DA50 family of
diesel-fuelled light aircraft.
Chen says Diamond ?has developed a broad range of superb aircraft that have gained worldwide
respect for their performance, efficiency, safety and innovation.
Based on this excellent foundation, we intend to take Diamond
to a long-term leadership position
in worldwide general aviation?. ?
extron Aviation has delivered
the first Beechcraft King Air
to Canadian operator CanWest
Air, from a 2017 order for nine of
the twin-engined turboprops.
The aircraft ? eight 250s and
one 350 ? will replace CanWest?s
current fleet of B200s to deliver
air ambulance support throughout Alberta on behalf of the western Canadian province?s healthcare provider.
?We now have one
of the first aircraft
in Canada certified
to carry bariatric
[obese] patients?
found throughout Canada?, the
US airframer adds.
CanWest describes the King Air
platform as ?a tremendous asset?
for the business and general aviation services company, which has
been operating air ambulance
missions since its launch in 1986.
The aircraft?s ?reliability,
strength and versatility enables
us to raise the bar in support of
the medical needs of patients in
the remotest parts of our region,?
it says.
?We now have one of the first
aircraft in Canada certified to
carry bariatric [obese] patients.
No other aircraft could have better met our mission,? it adds. ?
CanWest Air
To support their mission requirements, the King Airs are
being modified with a cargo door
and a higher-weight landing gear.
The 350 will operate at an enhanced maximum take-off weight
of 7,480kg (16,500lb) and the 250s
at 6,090kg, says Textron Aviation.
Both models can transport patients quickly, over long distances and from unimproved runways, ?which allows easier
operation in remote locations
Textron Aviation
Diamond Aircraft
T
Operator has order for eight 250s
CERTIFICATION KATE SARSFIELD LONDON
Europe approves updated P2008
T
ecnam has secured European
validation for the second-generation version of its P2008JC piston-single, 10 years after the twoseat, high-wing type was launched.
The Italian airframer is now
preparing to deliver the first example to Polish flight training
academy and long-time customer
Bartolini Air.
The P2008JC MkII was
launched in 2017 and features a
number of enhancements, including a Garmin G3X Touch flightdeck equipped with synthetic vi-
sion; an improved interior
lighting system featuring both
ambient light and dimmer switches; enhanced seating; redesigned
doors; and the choice of a two- or
three-bladed propeller. The latter
offering is likely to appeal to those
owners who operate into noisecontrolled airfields, says Tecnam.
Bartolini has an order for seven
P2008JC MkIIs, which will be
added to its fleet of eight piston
singles ? including six two-seat
P2002JFs and a four-seat P2010 ?
and three P2006T piston-twins. ?
9-15 January 2018 | Flight International | 21
DATA VIEW
Driven
by Dubai
Between the firming of tentative deals made at last year?s Paris air show and major orders
booked at Dubai, November emerged as a very busy month for the main manufacturers
GRAHAM DUNN & ANTOINE FAFARD
LONDON
22 | Flight International | 9-15 January 2018
CDB Aviation ordered a combined 101
aircraft, including 56 from the Boeing range
New orders, November 2017
Avolon
FedEx
CDB Aviation
CDB Aviation
FedEx
ALAFCO
Avolon
CDB Aviation
CDB Aviation
Azerbaijan Airlines
CDB Aviation
CemAir
Ethiopian Airlines
Nordic Aviation Capital
737 Max 8
Cessna 408
737 Max 8
A320neo
ATR 72-600
737 Max 8
737 Max 10
A321neo
787-9
787-8
737 Max 10
Q400
777 Freighter
Q400
55
50
44
30
30
20
20
15
8
5
4
2
2
2
Source: Flight Fleets Analyzer
Note: Information for known customers
that the entry into service of its new cargo aircraft is planned for 2020. FedEx also placed an
order for 30 ATR 72-600 turboprop freighters ?
becoming launch customer for the variant ?
while CemAir and Nordic Aviation Capital
both ordered a pair of Bombardier Q400s.
Boeing
A
Dubai air show-fuelled November
was the second busiest month of
2017 for new aircraft orders, according to preliminary data from Flight
Fleets Analyzer, trailing only June ? which was
boosted by the Le Bourget deal frenzy.
A total of 288 new commitments were
booked in November, while there were 42
cancellations; a further 20 swaps were made.
Much of the activity involved the firming of
tentative deals disclosed during June?s Paris air
show, including business from lessors Avolon
and CDB Aviation Lease Finance.
The latter alone was responsible for just over
100 new orders ? a mixture of Airbus A320�
neo-family jets (45), Boeing 737 Max aircraft
(48) and 787s (eight) ? and also swapped 17
A320ceos in favour of the re-engined variant.
Narrowbody orders during November comprised 143 737 Max aircraft and 45 A320neofamily aircraft.
In addition to the 101 aircraft ordered by
CDB Aviation, aircraft lessor Avolon firmed a
memorandum of understanding for 55 737
Max 8s, plus another 20 Max 10s initially
signed during the Paris air show.
While both these deals were finalised at the
Dubai show, most of the sales activity at the
event was in the form of preliminary orders
which are still to be formally booked. There
were over 850 commercial aircraft orders and
options disclosed during Dubai, but less than
15% of these were firm orders, including Airbus?s show-closer for 430 A320s and Boeing?s
sale of up to 225 737 Max aircraft to Flydubai:
both of which advanced in December.
In the widebody sector, Boeing logged 16
orders, including five 787s from Azerbaijan
Airlines and two 777 Freighters from
璄thiopian Airlines.
Regional aircraft orders in the month
璱ncluded 50 Cessna 408 SkyCouriers placed by
FedEx Express: the new twin-turboprop?s
launch customer. Textron Aviation announced
At the end of November, the overall order
backlog stood at 14,489, up 134 on the previous month.
There were 159 commercial aircraft deliveries in November: 11% more than the same
month a year earlier.
DELIVERY SHIFT
Operators in the Asia-Pacific region took 72
aircraft, while European and North American
carriers received 37 and 32 units, respectively.
There were 105 narrowbody aircraft delivered in November, while 39 widebodies were
shipped during the month. Regional deliveries for turboprop and jet types totalled 10 and
five units, respectively.
The commercial fleet now consists of just
over 28,400 aircraft in service, of which 92%
are for passenger operations.
The in-service fleet for carriers based in the
Asia-Pacific region has recently overtaken
that of North America, to become the biggest
market in the world. The latest figures
璬emonstrate the gap has already widened, as
Asia-Pacific carriers now operate 59 more
璦ircraft than those in North America. ?
flightglobal.com
ORDERS & DELIVERIES
Commercial in-service fleet by
region
Commercial monthly net orders, November 2016-2017
Units
550
7%
5%
5%
24%
450
28,436
350
Total
250
30%
29%
150
50
Source: Flight Fleets Analyzer
-50
Nov-16 Dec-16 Jan-17 Feb-17 Mar-17 Apr-17 May-17 Jun-17 Jul-17 Aug-17 Sep-17 Oct-17 Nov-17
Source: Flight Fleets Analyzer
Narrowbody
Regional
Turboprop
Widebody
Asia-Pacific
8,472
North America
8,408
Europe
6,763
Latin America
2,048
Middle East
1,442
Africa
1,303
Commercial aircraft order backlog
by manufacturer
Commercial monthly deliveries, November 2016-2017
Units
250
4%
3%
3%
5%
39%
200
14,489
Total
150
100
46%
50
Source: Flight Fleets Analyzer
0
Nov-16 Dec-16 Jan-17 Feb-17 Mar-17 Apr-17 May-17 Jun-17 Jul-17 Aug-17 Sep-17 Oct-17 Nov-17
Source: Flight Fleets Analyzer
Narrowbody
Regional
Turboprop
Widebody
Airbus
6,589
Boeing
5,621
Comac
504
Embraer
437
Bombardier
424
Other
914
In focus: fleet evolution for the A380 vs the 747
Total fleet and stored aircraft
Total fleet (in-service and stored aircraft)
Stored aircraft
1,000
25%
800
20%
600
15%
400
10%
200
5%
0
0%
Dec-08 Dec-09 Dec-10
Dec-11
Dec-12 Dec-13 Dec-14 Dec-15 Dec-16 Dec-17
Source: Flight Fleets Analyzer
Total fleet for the
A380
flightglobal.com
Total fleet for the
747
Stored fleet for the A380
Stored fleet for the 747
The Airbus A380 and Boeing 747 are the two
competing ultra-high-capacity airliners. The
jumbo was introduced in 1970 with Pan Am,
while Airbus?s double-decker entered commercial use with Singapore Airlines in 2007.
Focusing on a 10-year period, the total
fleet for the 747 has fallen from 970 units in
2008 to just under 600 aircraft at the end of
2017. By contrast, there were 10 A380s in
service at the end of 2008, shortly after its
introduction into service. It passed the 100
aircraft in service mark in 2013 and the fleet
today stands at just over 220 units.
The parked ratio for the 747 was 14% in
2008 and averaged 19% over the next nine
years ? reflecting its longer heritage. As of
end-November 2017, the backlog for the
747-8 was just 12 of the freighter variant,
while 96 A380s were on order. ?
9-15 January 2018 | Flight International | 23
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ROMANIA
Special report
ROMANIA
ON THE RISE
CONTENTS
28Airbus Helicopters? big build up
29Producing benefits in Brasov
30Aerostar shines on
31Airline?s Blue sky thinking
Airbus Helicopters
Airbus Helicopters
Aerostar
Romania may not have had the aerospace muscle of
neighbours Poland and Czechoslovakia during the Cold
War, but from the 1950s it was a sizeable player in both
rotorcraft and military maintenance, repair and overhaul,
centred in the cities of Brasov and Bacau. After a difficult
period following the fall of communism, the industry has
enjoyed a renaissance, thanks mainly to Airbus investment
and the success of local champion Aerostar. Together with
a handful of smaller enterprises in the supply chain, the
sector employs about 5,000 people. We have visited
Romania?s two aerospace hubs, as well as the offices of its
leading independent airline, to discover what the
prospects are for the industry in this corner of Europe
(From top) Commercial maintenance, repair and overhaul is an increasingly important segment for Aerostar; Airbus Helicopters has
been servicing rotorcraft in Brasov since early this century; Romania?s replacements for its Super Pumas will be built in the city
flightglobal.com
9-15 January 2018 | Flight International | 27
ROMANIA
Special report
ROTORCRAFT
Big build-up
for Brasov
Airbus Helicopters has expanded its
in-country footprint with a plant to
assemble a new version of the Super
Puma for Romania?s armed forces
MURDO MORRISON BRASOV
28 | Flight International | 9-15 January 2018
The Romanian MRO operation makes some 80% of its revenue from foreign customers
mania began expanding as operators from further afield sent aircraft for more complex refurbishments. This year, more than 80% of
the unit?s revenues will come from outside
Romania for the first time, says Durand.
CORE COMPETENCY
Airbus Helicopters Romania ? as the MRO
operation is now known ? is qualified to work
on smaller types such as the H120, H125,
H130 and H135, but the bulk of its work
comes from the Super Puma. Several ? in various states of refurbishment ? stood in the
main workshop when we visited. ?It is our
core competency,? says Durand, who is responsible for both the MRO operation and the
new factory. Alongside its plans to launch
production of the H215M, Airbus Helicopters
also offers an upgrade for legacy Super Pumas
to ?H215 standard?, although Durand thinks
upgrades will fill only a small part of a potential demand for 1,000 Super Puma-sized aircraft, a segment where the main rivals are the
Airbus Helicopters
f you build it, they will come. Airbus Helicopters might have been following the advice of the film Field of Dreams when it invested almost ?52 million ($62 million) in a
factory in Romania in November 2015. Two
years on, the Brasov plant is ready to produce
its first H215M, another iteration of the venerable Super Puma. All that is missing is a kickoff order from Bucharest. The Franco-German
manufacturer ? which has a relationship with
Romania?s rotorcraft industry that began in
the early days of the Ceau?escu era ? built the
final assembly line in the Transylvanian city
in anticipation of a sale to the domestic customer. An order would extend the production
life of the rebranded AS332 C1e/L1e and help
retain in Romania a competence in helicopter
engineering that stretches back to the 1960s.
At time of writing, an order for the 16 examples of the 8.6t maximum take-off weight
type that Airbus Helicopters says it needs to
launch production looked likely, with media
reports suggesting Romania had made a decision. Two years since Airbus Helicopters unveiled the factory, recent indications had
looked promising. In August, the company
announced in Bucharest, in front of French
president Emmanuel Macron and his Romanian counterpart Klaus Iohannis, that longtime local partner IAR would be prime contractor for any future H215M orders by the
Romanian defence ministry for 15 years. Later
that month, Serge Durand, managing director
of Airbus Helicopters Industries, told FlightGlobal that ?we are waiting for a strong signal
from the Romanian government?.
The 10,000m2 (108,000ft2) factory ? which
will have an initial capacity of 15 aircraft a
year ? may be new, but Airbus Helicopters is
no newcomer in Romania. As Aerospatiale, it
licensed IAR to build the Alouette III and
Puma ? more than 360 were delivered in the
1970s and 1980s alongside IAR?s own products. In 2002, with Romanian helicopter production ending, the then-Eurocopter
launched a 51%-owned joint venture with
IAR to maintain, repair and overhaul helicopters in a facility next door to IAR. Originally
focused on the domestic fleet, Eurocopter Ro-
Airbus Helicopters
I
Airbus Helicopters opened an assembly
facility next to its site in Brasov in 2015
Mil Mi-17 and Sikorsky S-70.
?The market is huge, particularly if you
look at the UN [and disaster relief],? says Durand. ?To get 20% over 15 years is not so ambitious, although it?s possible we can get
more.? A Romanian order would be ?a signal
to the market?, he believes, and prompt further interest from operators involved in areas
such as firefighting, aerial observation, medical evacuation, logging and disaster relief. He
describes the H215M as a ?workhorse? that
can be operated and maintained simply.
?Technology-wise, it?s not an [NH Industries]
NH90, but it?s robust with classic technology,? he adds. ?It can be maintained in the
field. Pilots love it because of the automatic
pilot and mechanics love its simplicity. I
think there will be more demand for this kind
of available, reliable aircraft.?
Romania itself flies about 60 ageing Pumas
and Super Pumas, some up to 40 years old.
Other government entities, such as the health
and interior ministries, also operate Pumas of
a similar vintage. While it is unlikely Romanian customers will commit to orders in the
high double figures in the short term, the latest agreement with IAR ? an extension of a
earlier five-year deal ? runs beyond the realistic working life of the current fleet. ?Most of
the country?s helicopters will have to be replaced within 10 to 15 years,? notes Durand.
Under the agreement, IAR?s site next door
will carry out any military customisations.
The deal works both ways. The state-owned
company has a separate deal with Bell Helicopter to prime with the US manufacturer to
offer the AH-1Z Viper for a Romanian requirement thought to be for 24 attack helicopters. ??
flightglobal.com
ROMANIA
Special report
?We have a 15-year succession
plan so we are able to transfer
experience and knowledge?
Serge Durand
Managing director, Airbus Helicopters Romania
?We have a plan for the next 15 years, a
succession plan for the transfer of experience
and knowledge,? notes Durand. ?Building
new helicopter skills is not so easy.? He also
believes expatriate Romanians with aerospace
experience will be tempted to return with the
promise of a secure career at home, lower salaries compensated for by lower living costs
and quality of life in an attractive, prosperous
city surrounded by heavily-forested mountains dotted with ski resorts and picture postcard castles. Several have already been lured
back, including the head of Durand?s design
office. A local airport would help make moving to Brasov more attractive, he admits. Unusually for an aerospace hub, the city has only
a grass airfield and the nearest airport is several hours? drive away in Bucharest.
At the same time, Durand is keen to develop a local supply chain to support H215M assembly and possibly compete for work on
other Airbus Helicopters programmes. Although Romania has barely made its own rotorcraft this century, there are still small companies in the Brasov area and beyond ?with
all the competencies we need to build a helicopter?, he says. For a country whose aerospace industry had to fight for its life after the
end of communism, it would be a real turnaround. ?There is a real industrial network
here,? says Durand. ?It means Romania can
have autonomy in a small club of helicopter
manufacturers in the world.? ?
flightglobal.com
AEROSTRUCTURES MURDO MORRISON BRASOV
Premium Aerotec investment produces the benefits
Its helicopters division is not
the only Airbus unit to set up
shop in Romania. In 2011,
Premium Aerotec, the group?s
autonomous aerostructures
subsidiary, opened its first factory outside Germany next to
Airbus Helicopters in Brasov.
The plant has since almost
doubled in size to 26,000m2
(280,000ft2) and has just expanded its workforce from
around 850 to 1,000.
Meanwhile, in a trendy tech
cluster in Bucharest, Airbus
Defence & Space employs just
under 100 engineers, working
on research and development
for the wider business.
Established in 2007 to prime a
border security scheme for
Romania, the operation was
retained when that project
ended early this decade to
safeguard expertise.
While the sites in the
Transylvanian city and the capital?s ?Silicon Valley? are very
different, they are both focused on supporting their parent organisations, with little
interface with customers or the
supply chain in Romania.
But that could change.
Until now, the plant has been
an ?extended workbench?
with raw materials shipped in
secure consignments from the
company?s sites in Germany,
and output ? such as the 6m
(19.7ft)-long keel beam and
cargo door frame for the
Airbus A320 family ? delivered back.
However, Edmundus
Rudloff, head of assembly and
maintenance at Premium
Aerotec Romania, hopes the
business can secure accreditation as a production organisation, a move that will allow
it to source its own stocks,
possibly from local suppliers.
?It would be an empowerment for Brasov,? he says,
?similar to what [Airbus sister
aerostructures supplier] Stelia
has done in Tunisia.?
Premium Aerotec decided
Premium Aerotec
?? In August, Bucharest submitted a request
for information on pricing and availability to
Washington DC. However, IAR can work only
with Airbus Helicopters on any pitch involving a medium or heavy type, notes Durand.
?That makes us more confident?, he says.
Airbus Helicopters Romania employs 170
people with a further 30 undergoing training
and carrying out preliminary work in the new
factory. Once assembly is at 15 aircraft a year,
the workforce will need to rise to 350, says
Durand. Airbus Helicopters is working with
local education facilities to train potential recruits ? 28 have started a tailored technician
course at the city?s technical college. With
many of the remaining workers from IAR?s
days as a helicopter manufacturer approaching retirement, Airbus Helicopters is keen to
nurture a new generation of specialists ? the
demographic time bomb means it is vital to
secure a production contract for the H215M
as soon as possible.
The 6m A320 keel beam is the factory?s flagship product
to set up its first overseas factory in 2009, ?when it looked
like we were going to run out
of capacity in Germany?, explains Rudloff. Thanks to
Airbus?s long relationship with
local helicopter company IAR,
it made sense to choose
Brasov, a city of 300,000 people with an industrial heritage.
There was state aid on offer
and a local university, while a
long-established Germanspeaking community also
made it attractive.
?It was a big employment
boost for Brasov,? says
Rudloff. The company has
helped develop a Germanstyle technical curriculum for
high school students who
want to work for Premium
Aerotec at 18. Today, Brasov
is ?one of the best performing
plants for Airbus?, he says.
?It?s efficient and competitive
with a good working culture.?
At Airbus Defence &
Space, managing director
Flaviu Raducanu says cosmopolitan Bucharest has been a
magnet for high-tech investors ? neighbours include
Honeywell, IBM, Oracle and
HP ? drawn by competitive
salaries, low living costs and
high numbers of IT graduates.
For millennials, it is a ?good
place to be?, says Raducanu.
?It?s very digital and there?s a
dynamic atmosphere.?
Unlike Premium Aerotec,
where staff produce a small
number of large-volume
parts, Raducanu?s scientists
and engineers are working in
a virtual environment with
colleagues in Toulouse,
Friedrichshafen and Newport
on a ?vast range of projects?
in areas such as networks, cyber security, command and
control and spaceflight.
According to Raducanu,
the Bucharest unit operates as
a ?small company?, even
though all its work is done for
Airbus Defence & Space. ?In
many ways it is harder to sell
internally than to an external
market,? he says. ?Our focus
is on delivering on time and
on quality to that internal customer. Everyone knows that
their job depends on what we
can deliver. It keeps you fit.?
The increasing integration
of Airbus means Raducanu
sees the possibility of work
coming from the wider business. ?We have expanded
from doing pure security to a
wider defence and space
portfolio. Further growth [into
working with other Airbus divisions] could come because
it makes sense,? he says. And,
although all its ?8.5 million
($10 million) revenue comes
from ?exports?, Raducanu
does not rule out working
again for the state. ?We are
confident we will see more
opportunities coming from
Romania,? he says, ?and we
are ready to support that.? ?
9-15 January 2018 | Flight International | 29
ROMANIA
Special report
MANUFACTURING
Aerostar
shines on
Romania?s main aerospace player
has built businesses in civil MRO and
aerostructures, while retaining its
legacy role in military support
MURDO MORRISON BACAU
O
As well as predominantly Airbus suppliers
GKN and Premium Aerotec, Aerostar now
numbers Boeing commercial aerostructures
specialist Avcorp in Canada among its customers. Meanwhile, in landing gear and hydraulic systems, its other area of manufacturing, Aerostar is the sole supplier of landing
gear for the Daher TBM family of single-engine turboprops, and has a strong position on
the A320 family and A330, manufacturing
components such as steering, retraction and
unlocking actuators for Safran Landing Systems (formerly Messier-Bugatti-Dowty).
?We will continue this way to
increase our prospects rather
than focusing in just one area?
Grigore Filip
President and general director, Aerostar
Without a large local supply chain to rely
on, Aerostar is ?pretty vertically integrated?
on the manufacturing side, notes Filip. While
it has not dabbled in areas such as 3D printing
or composites, focusing instead on aluminium
and other metals, it has invested in a series of
special processes such as heat treatment, shot
peening, and surface coating. Last year, a new
tartaric sulphur anodising line, and an automated paint facility were approved by customers and began production. ?In the field of detailed parts, this range of capabilities gives us a ??
Aerostar
n first appearance, Aerostar?s sprawling
complex of buildings next to Bacau airport may reflect its heritage as a state-run enterprise focused on supporting the Romanian
defence forces. But the country?s biggest aerospace company, founded 65 years ago, has reinvented itself in the past two decades from a
potentially rusting post-communist relic to a
stalwart of the second tier of the aerospace
supply chain with customers including GKN
and Airbus unit Premium Aerotec. The company, which employs around 2,200 people,
also has a growing civil maintenance, repair
and overhaul business specialising in Airbus
and Boeing.
Although it retains a legacy land systems
and military MRO business working mainly on
Romanian projects, sales to foreign customers
made up just over three-quarters of its $90.3
million revenues in 2016. Grigore Filip, the
company?s veteran president and general director, who has steered the company?s progress
since it was divested by the state and floated on
the Bucharest stock exchange at the turn of the
century, wants to push that export share to
85%. Before privatisation, Aerostar derived almost all its income from its home market.
Manufacturing ? aerostructures and landing gear components ? accounts for just under
half of Aerostar?s revenues, with the rest split
roughly equally between civil MRO and defence activities. Filip admits that the company structure may seem unorthodox, but insists that having a foothold in three sectors is
a strength. ?Certainly, looking from the outside, this mix of business lines may seem difficult to manage,? he says. ?But we will continue in this way to increase our prospects for
growth, rather than focusing in just one area.?
Aerostar?s presence in manufacturing is impressive, given it barely made commercial
parts 15 years ago. ?We were completely new
in civil aviation,? recalls Filip. Starting with
(now GKN-owned) Fokker, it has won positions in the Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier, and
Dassault supply chains. Its aerostructures
portfolio includes the shroud box for the Airbus A320 and A321 wing ? it produces some
60% of Airbus?s requirements ? around 40
shipsets per month and ramping up fast, says
Filip. It also makes the Gulfstream G450?s
landing gear doors, as well as spoilers, vanes
and airbrakes for the Dassault Falcon 7X/8X.
Aerostar considers itself the leading commercial MRO house in the southeast Europe region, despite having a number of competitors
30 | Flight International | 9-15 January 2018
flightglobal.com
ROMANIA
Special report
strong advantage,? says Filip.
Although a smaller contributor to the business, commercial MRO has been another success for Aerostar since it launched this activity in 2003, with Filip claiming ?we are now
the most important maintenance base in the
region?, despite the presence of rivals such as
Lufthansa Technik in Sofia, Bulgaria, and
Turkish Airlines? Turkish Technic.
With seven bays at Bacau, the company
carries out around 80 heavy checks a year on
Airbus and Boeing narrowbodies. Customers
include TUI, Royal Air Maroc and Turkish
carrier Pegasus. It is one of the first MRO
houses approved to retrofit the Split Scimitar
winglet on the Boeing 737NG and has carried
out several installations. Aerostar will also
carry out what it claims will be the first ?contracted overhaul? of an A320neo in April.
In 2019, the company plans to open a fourbay hangar at Iasi, 130km (80 miles) north of
Bacau, and is looking further afield for expansion. ?We may go east, to areas where aviation
is growing, like India,? says Filip. While the
company has ?no identified solution?, he suggests that ?in the horizon of 10 years, something will happen?. Over its 15 years in commercial MRO, Aerostar has achieved ?100%
on-time delivery?, he says. ?This is our point
of difference. While quality of work should be
perfect, and cost is also important ? and in
our case it can be a little bit lower [than competitors] ? without on-time delivery, cost has
no impact.?
On the military side, Aerostar?s last flagship
programme was the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG21 Lancer conversion. Working with Elbit
Systems of Israel, Aerostar carried out 110 upgrades of the Russian fighter for the Romanian
air force between 1995 and 2003. Although
the project itself ended 15 years ago, there are
still 25 MiG-21s in active service with Romania and around five of them require a 90-day
deep overhaul every year, so supporting that
type ? and MiG-21s operated by other nations
? remains an important part of Aerostar?s
business mix.
In addition, Aerostar manufactures components for ground defence systems, including
vehicle-based rocket launchers, almost entirely for the domestic customer. Under the
terms of Aerostar?s privatisation in 2000, Bucharest retained a golden share, entitling the
government to a veto in matters affecting the
defence production capabilities of the company. ?The military side is not as significant
as in the past,? admits Filip. ?But it is still one
of our commitments to keep our presence in
this area to deliver any major contract from
the Romanian military.?
Filip says the company?s expansion in aerostructures and MRO has allowed it to train
around 450 recruits in the past five years, and
that it has managed to hold onto most of them
once they have gained experience ? despite
the temptation for European Aviation Safety
Agency-accredited technicians to seek higherpaid work in Western Europe. However, he
insists Aerostar ? and the rest of Romania?s
aerospace industry ? cannot simply count on
a lower-cost workforce over the next decade
to remain competitive. ?There will probably
continue to be some difference in labour costs
[compared with other countries], but this cannot be the only differentiator,? he says. ?We
have to focus too on investment and better
planning and organisation so we can achieve
strong performance indicators.? ?
AIRLINES
Blue sky
thinking
The future is bright for the country?s
biggest private carrier, four years
after its administration, as it rolls out
ambitious fleet and route plans
MURDO MORRISON BUCHAREST
B
lue Air is targeting a fleet of 50 aircraft
within ?three or four years? as it builds
on its reputation as Romania?s leading airline
brand by consolidating its presence at foreign
bases in Larnaca, Liverpool and Turin.
The privately owned carrier operates 29
Boeing 737s, split between Classics and NGs
? four more aircraft than troubled, stateowned Tarom, according to Flight Fleets Analyzer, making it Romania?s biggest airline ?
and has 12 737 Max jets on order for delivery
from the second quarter of 2019.
Blue Air?s recent performance and aspirations represent a notable turnaround for the
13-year-old airline, which entered administration in 2013 after its then-parent group
went into difficulties over unpaid construction contracts. At the time, Blue Air operated
a six-strong fleet from Bucharest and Bacau.
Under new owners, backed by private equity, the airline has since 2014 developed a
strategy around establishing an extensive domestic network in a large country characterised by poor road and rail infrastructure, linking Bucharest, Cluj, Constanta, Iasi, Oradea
and Timisoara. In addition, it serves more
than 30 cities from Bucharest and more than
20 from its other Romanian bases in Bacau,
Cluj, Constanta and Iasi.
Aerostar
CASELLE BASE
Veteran executive Filip has steered Aerostar towards new markets in the past 15 years
flightglobal.com
Blue Air has also established operations at
Turin Caselle ? moving in with five 737s after
Alitalia?s departure, handling a million passengers a year across 20 routes ? as well as the
main Cyprus gateway, where it has three aircraft. A 737-800 has been based at Liverpool
since early 2017, and this year Blue Air will
begin flying two Italian routes from Sardinia?s
Alghero airport, under a public service obligation contract.
Further European beachheads are possible.
?We are analysing all the opportunities outside Romania,? says chief commercial officer
Tudor Constantinescu, who adds: ?We always
expect a lot of co-operation from any airport,
and it is not just about money.? Around a
third of Blue Air passengers currently do not
fly to or from Romania, and Constantinescu
9-15 January 2018 | Flight International | 31
ROMANIA
Special report
AirTeamImages
Blue Air flies 29 737s ? split between
Classics and NGs ? making it bigger
than flag-carrier Tarom, and also has
12 Max variants on order
expects this proportion to grow.
He dislikes the term ?hybrid? to describe a
business model under which Blue Air has
adopted features traditionally associated with
both full-service and no-frills airlines in a
market where it competes aggressively with
fast-growing eastern European specialist Wizz
Air as well as local rival Tarom.
For instance, Blue Air provides a complimentary meal service on its longest routes
from Larnaca, and the ability to prepay for
meals on other flights. Cultural expectations
have played a role in its decisions. When it
launched routes from Liverpool it began offering free food, but ?because the UK is a mature,
low-cost market, passengers were happy to
pay?, says Constantinescu.
Blue Air also offers through-ticketing on
its own flights and is interlining with other
carriers, including TAP and Alitalia. At the
same time, the airline operates all-economy
cabins on its all-737 fleet, and passengers
pay for check-in baggage, although those
paying premium fares have access to lounges
and can check luggage for free. Tickets are
sold through travel agents as well as on its
website.
?We do not have the size of a Ryanair or
Wizz, so we are able to be very specialised,?
said Constantinescu when he spoke to FlightGlobal at Blue Air?s offices in a smart new
32 | Flight International | 9-15 January 2018
business campus near Bucharest?s Henri
Coanda International airport. ?We don?t think
of ourselves as hybrid. Most of what we provide is similar to a full-service carrier.?
While the proportion of its passengers who
connect through a Blue Air hub is small ?
some 20,000 out of 500,000 a month ? Constantinescu expects this to grow as customers
begin to realise the available options. ?Our
network is designed as point-to-point, but it
means passengers can connect from London
to Larnaca every day through Bucharest ? our
direct service is five days a week,? he says.
?We do not have the size of a
Ryanair or Wizz Air, so we are
able to be very specialised ?
Tudor Constantinescu
Chief commercial officer, Blue Air
In addition, he believes there is a ?big potential? in interlining. Blue Air, which joined
IATA in 2016, offers connections with Alitalia, TAP and Air Moldova, and is ?working to
implement codesharing? for access to longhaul flights and in-country networks through
the Blue Air booking system. He adds: ?Interlining adds a lot of value for us. We are putting a lot of effort into building relationships
[with other airlines].?
Constantinescu says Blue Air is ?paying
more attention to high-value customers? by
introducing a loyalty scheme that will be promoted on a soon-to-be-relaunched website.
Registered regular customers who pay the
highest fares will be automatically allocated
the best seats, with middle seats left empty
where possible.
Blue Air has begun to phase out its Classics
? three -400s were due to leave the fleet during 2017 ? and is adding NGs, with aircraft
numbers set to reach 32 by summer, says Constantinescu. These new types will be a mix of
owned aircraft and others under financial and
operating leases.
Unusually for an emerging carrier, Blue Air
also carries out its own and some third-party
MRO, employing 350 people at a facility at
Bucharest?s downtown Baneasa airport. The
carrier plans to establish a second maintenance centre at Henri Coanda International.
So far, by focusing on its domestic market
and underserved European airports such as
Larnaca, Liverpool and Turin, Blue Air has
managed to fly largely under the radar of the
threat posed by Wizz Air and low-cost giants
Ryanair and EasyJet. How much more scope
the Romanian outfit has to grow what it calls its
?smart flying? offering in the increasingly
crowded skies of Europe remains to be seen. ?
flightglobal.com
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STRAIGHT&LEVEL
From yuckspeak to tales of yore, send your offcuts to murdo.morrison@flightglobal.com
REX/Shutterstock
Hell finally
freezes over
Ryanair recognising unions may
have seemed a Christmas
change of heart of Scroogeian
proportions, but it was worries
over a ruinous festive pilots?
strike ? after last autumn?s
cancellations fiasco ? that forced
Michael O?Leary?s U-turn.
It is the latest reverse ferret
from the once give-no-ground
maverick. What next? ?Not
printed your boarding pass? We
can do it.? Or ?Delayed in dutyfree? We won?t go without you.?
Maybe even: ?Packed a bit too
much? Ah, forget about it this
time. We?ll squeeze it in.?
Goodwill to all?
President Trump?s ridiculous
claim that he ?led the charge?
against an ?assault? on the
supposedly politically incorrect
phrase ?Merry Christmas? was
always going to be pompous
codswallop, but the many
examples of proof include one
from an unlikely source.
One state-owned flag-carrier?s
homepage carried a seasonal
design featuring a decorated
sprig and the very same
expression, ?Merry Christmas?,
alongside an air ticket giftwrapped in red ribbon.
Which airline poured wet
slush on Trump?s piffle with this
prominent public display of a
traditional Christian blessing?
Step forward Iran Air, which,
according to Trump, is a victim
of a ?terrible deal?, sealed during
the Obama administration, that
put many sanctions on ice and
finally allowed citizens of the
Islamic Republic to fly on safer
modern aircraft.
Miss Gertrude Hinds has
had the honour of being
fined 10s. by
the Kent
magistrates, with
the added
warning of worse to follow
in case of repetition, for
photographing a fallen
Gotha without official
sanction.
Fuel shortage
On the [Russian] southern
front, from the middle Don
to south of
Stalingrad, the
Russians claim
that in six weeks
they captured 542 aircraft
besides other booty. This
suggests that the Germans
are short of petrol.
As well as being PERSONALLY RESPONSIBLE for Zero
deaths in airline travel in 2017, I can also take 100%
credit for turning Trump Shuttle into world?s MOST
SUCCESSFUL EVER airline. FACT!!!
F-111s in doubt
Cheesy jet
Buon appetito
Air Partner has ?enjoyed a very
successful year flying its MICE
clients to and from a wide range
of events, meetings and product
launches? in Europe. Its release
goes on at great length about
how the charter specialist has
delighted this customer segment
? without anywhere explaining
what MICE clients actually are
(those who travel for meetings,
incentives, conferences and
exhibitions, it would seem).
Otherwise, we fancy that
Mouse-cow might be among the
favourite destinations, although
Cat-wick would be best avoided.
Air Partner might even
consider widening its rodent
appeal, with flights to Hamsterdam, B-rat-islava, or Gerbil-tra.
Beleaguered Alitalia is not going
to be winning many industry
awards these days, but the
Italian flag-carrier, which is
breathing on life-support, has
been served with the ?Best
Airline Cuisine? award from
Global Traveler magazine.
At last, one area where the inadministration airline is not
pasta its best.
Let?s hope Sanctions Clause isn?t coming to town
It is evident that a fierce
tussle is being waged in the
Cabinet over the
RAF order for 50
F-111s.
Cancellation or
reduction of the F-111
order presents many
difficulties, not least of them
the prospect of swingeing
cancellation charges.
Suggestions that the order
might be reduced to 30
aircraft bear little credence.
Flight autonomy
All or nothing
We think we know what Eric
Lindblad of Boeing is getting at
in this quote about airlines?
reaction to Seattle?s new flagship
type, the 777X. But on first
reading, suggests Rod
Holdridge, it does sound like
executive doublespeak:
?If you look at the exact
airplane that we have on paper
today? it falls short of all their
desires, but exceeds many of
their desires.?
Yuckspeak
flightglobal.com
Fined for photos
?Aircrew conditioning facility?
= gym (heard at RAF Marham).
American Airlines has taken
the first steps towards
operations using
?autonomous
aircraft? ?
operated
independently of groundbased navigational aids ? by
making the first revenue
flight using on-board
vertical navigation (VNAV)
and flight-guidance data.
100-YEAR ARCHIVE
Every issue of Flight
from 1909 onwards
can be viewed online at
flightglobal.com/archive
9-15 January 2018 | Flight International | 35
LETTERS
flight.international@flightglobal.com
CHALLENGE
The opinions on this page do not
necessarily represent those of the editor.
Letters without a full postal address supplied may not be published. Letters may
also be published on flightglobal.com
and must be no longer than 250 words.
Four factors in
Concorde crash
Following your Concorde retrospective (Flight International,
12燚ecember 2017-1 January), I
feel compelled to write about a
documentary shown recently on
Channel 5 about the fatal crash of
Air France flight 4590. The programme, called The Concorde
Air Disaster, was devoid of the
truth and clutching at straws.
After the crash I examined the
records of the aircraft and found
four reasons for the disaster.
First, the aircraft was on a private charter. The baggage limit
didn?t apply. Whatever the passengers brought was爈oaded.
Second, the aircraft was filled
with fuel. Normally fuel is burnt
whilst waiting for take-off. In this
case the aircraft went directly to
the runway.
Third, the landing gears had
just been fitted after overhaul.
However, the left-hand main gear
was fitted to the aircraft with the
spacer missing. This meant that
the landing-gear bogie was not
facing directly forward, but at an
angle of 11 o?clock. This would
have the effect of pulling the aircraft to the left on take-off ? con-
It is not clear why Bob
Owen (Flight International,
2-8 January) should find my
letter, published a week earlier, regarding Airbus wing
manufacture in the UK
?strange?.
Apart from suggesting
On a wing and a prayer
that Flight International
should avoid producing biased articles on political matters, I
was also suggesting that Airbus ? not ?we? ? would be taking
a big risk if, in a fit of pique, it tried giving wing design, manufacture and continuous product development to an inexperienced organisation. It is also not clear what ?evidence? I
ignored.
Biased comments by remoaners are not ?evidence?. A long
career ? 56 years and still going strong ? in the aerospace industry has taught me to look to the star
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