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Aircraft News - North America.

Nov 5, 2007

Sleeping pilots woke to "frantic" radio calls. A report of a March 2004 incident in which the pilot and co-pilot fell asleep on a flight between Baltimore and Denver was the subject of some discussion during a congressional hearing Wednesday. Details of the flight, including which airline was involved, were not included in the report, which was made anonymously by the captain to NASA's Aviation Safety Reporting System. Nov 2, 2007

FAA's runway incursion reduction better than hoped: The FAA has exceeded its goal of reducing runway incursions to no more than one incursion for every 2 million surface movements. There were 24 incursion incidents out of more than 61 million operations in fiscal 2007, or one incursion for every 2,545,000 operations. Nov 1, 2007

NASA chief says agency will release data; questions data reliability. NASA Administrator Michael Griffin apologized to Congress for his agency's attempt to hold back the results of an $11 million aviation safety study, pledging to release the data by the end of the year. Griffin said NASA does not consider the survey's methodology or data to have been sufficiently verified and confirmed NASA's research project showed many types of safety incidents occurring more frequently than were reported by other U.S. government monitoring programs. But he cautioned that the data was never validated and warned, "There may be reason to question the validity of the methodology." Nov 1, 2007

Senate global warming bill moves forward. A bill designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, factories and transportation has moved from the Senate global warming subcommittee. The legislation will now be taken up by the full Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Nov 1, 2007

NASA head Michael Griffin told the US House Science and Technology Committee this week that the agency will reveal certain results from an $11.3 million survey of approximately 24,000 commercial pilots that reportedly revealed that near midair collisions and runway incursions occur far more often than FAA data indicate. Griffin said it was a "mistake" to withhold the data over fears that it would upset travelers and damage airlines, according to quotes cited by the Associated Press, and promised that "survey results we can legally release will be released" around year end. Concern over maintaining survey subjects' anonymity was cited as the reason for the delay. Nov 1, 2007

Air travel safe, but monitoring essential. Jim Hall, former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, points out the fatal air accidents in the U.S. have been reduced 65% over the last 10 years. Still, he says, more can be done. Steps should be taken to ensure the aviation industry's "culture of safety" doesn't go into decline. Oct 30, 2007

In-flight mishaps involving food and drink. Nancy Needhan flies around the world educating students and teachers about career opportunities in the travel industry. She says the obstacles the students she meets must overcome in their everyday lives lend perspective to the travel mishaps in hers. Oct 30, 2007

Air Force wants aircraft fleets using synthetic fuel by 2011. The Air Force is working closely with FAA to certify the commercial and Air Force fleets to fly on a 50-50 combination of synthetic fuel (liquid derived from coal) and petroleum-based fuel by 2011. An Air Force spokesman said, "We're looking to reduce demand, find alternative supply sources and change the culture of every airman so they make energy a consideration in all that they do." The spokesman said that so far, testing has shown current equipment can use a blend of petroleum and synthetic fuels without needing modification. Oct 30, 2007

U.S. airlines working to recover from the air travel slump that followed the terrorist attacks of 2001 have put off investing in new aircraft. As a result, America's aircraft fleet has been steadily aging resulting in higher costs to maintain them. Oct 29, 2007


AmSafe units also manufacture aircraft barrier and pallet nets and climate control products for air cargo, defense and commercial aftermarket segments and child harnesses and specialty vehicle restraint systems. Revenues totaled more than $200 million last year and the company employs approximately 1,450 worldwide. President Ken Beckemeyer will continue in that capacity under the new owners. Oct 30, 2007

AmSafe Partners

AmSafe Partners, which claims to be the largest supplier of passenger, flight attendant and cockpit safety restraining systems, was acquired by Greenbriar Equity Group LLC and Berkshire Partners LLC from Pritzker Group and Admiralty Partners. Terms were not disclosed. Amsafe products include passenger seatbelts, flight attendant harnesses, pilot/copilot restraint systems, communication headsets and handsets and passenger airbags that sometimes are used by airlines in seat configurations in which conventional restraints would not be sufficient to comply with current or pending safety regulations. Oct 30, 2007


Former 787 Dreamliner chief says Boeing rethinking global supply chain. Boeing Vice President Mike Bair, who until recently headed the 787 Dreamliner program, says the plane manufacturer may reconsider its decision to use manufacturers around the globe to produce parts for its planes. "The right way to do this would be to have all those big parts across the street so you could just roll them in," said Bair. "We'll see on the next airplane programs whether we can accomplish something like that." Nov 1, 2007


Boeing C-17 in budget limbo. Boeing is funding continued production of the C-17 military cargo plane on its own while the government decides how many of the aircraft it needs -- or if it needs them at all. Oct 31, 2007


Boeing reported third-quarter profits up almost 60 percent to USD$1.1 billion last week, helped by brisk sales of its commercial jets. But it scaled back its revenue forecast for next year due to delays on its 787 and slowing growth at its defense unit. Boeing earlier this month said its hot-selling 787 would be at least six months late as it wrestles with uncompleted work from suppliers, integrating the plane's software and an acute shortage of bolts. Boeing said it was still addressing "challenges" as it builds the first batch of 787s. Oct 30, 2007


The Boeing plan allows the repurchase of about 9 percent of Boeing's outstanding shares at current prices. Boeing's biggest plan on record authorized the repurchase of about 15 percent of outstanding shares in 1998, the year after it took over rival McDonnell Douglas. Boeing suspended stock buybacks after the attacks of September 11 and resumed only in 2004. Since then, it has bought about USD$8 billion of its own stock. Its last repurchase authorization, which is nearing completion, was for USD$3 billion, set in August 2006. The new authorization has no specified time limit. Oct 30, 2007


The Boeing announcement of buying back its own shares comes amid a three month slide in Boeing shares, which have lost about 10 percent of their value after hitting an all-time high in July, as production problems have delayed the company's new 787 Dreamliner. Boeing's shares added to gains shortly after the announcement, and closed up 97 cents at USD$96.99 in afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange. They hit their all-time high of USD$107.80 on July 25. Oct 30, 2007


Analysts have questioned whether the new schedule of delivering 109 Boeing 787 Dreamliners by 2009 is achievable but the company said it does not anticipate another delay and will know more about the plane once test flights begin early next year. The new schedule builds in a buffer to address issues that may arising during testing. Boeing has received more than 700 orders for Dreamliners, its best launch ever. The program helped Boeing push past Airbus in sales. Oct 29, 2007


The aircraft sales boom in recent years has been driven by airlines in the Middle East and Asia, who have been busy expanding their operations. European carriers just started this year making some big orders but major US customers, such as American Airlines and United Airlines, have not made any big purchases of wide-body jets. Boeing this week trimmed its 2008 revenue forecast due to a six month delay in deliveries of its 787 Dreamliner from next spring until late next year because of parts shortages and production problems. Oct 29, 2007


Boeing Exec Says Orders Might Level Off In 2008. The chief of Boeing's commercial plane unit Scott Carson said that orders might level off in 2008, but the company is hopeful US airlines are ready to start buying new aircraft. Carson said he was hesitant to forecast any specifics but added that "one would think" US airlines may be at the point where they would start ordering more planes. Boeing said this week that firm orders this year, now at 919 planes, could surpass the record of 1,044 last year, when Boeing overtook Airbus as the leading plane seller for the first time since 2000. Oct 29, 2007


Boeing's board approved a new share repurchase plan under which the company plans to buy back up to $7 billion worth of its common stock. The planned repurchase is in addition to approximately $8 billion of its stock it has bought back since 2004 and follows a $3 billion buyback approved by the board in August 2006. The company also declared a quarterly dividend of 35 cents per share payable Dec. 7 to shareholders of record as of Nov. 9. Oct 29, 2007


Bombardier Aerospace launched Oct. 30 its all-new Learjet aircraft, provisionally named Learjet NXT, the next generation in Learjet excellence. "I am extremely pleased to announce the launch of the Learjet NXT - an aircraft that is set to redefine the midsize jet category and set the standard against which all competitive aircraft will be measured," said Pierre Beaudoin, president and chief operating officer, Bombardier Aerospace. A public unveiling of the next Learjet business jet in October 2008, in time to commemorate the 45th anniversary of the first flight of a Learjet aircraft. The next Learjet aircraft is set to deliver the performance Learjet aircraft owners expect. Targeting a high-speed cruise of Mach 0.82, the clean-sheet Learjet aircraft will offer its passengers a transcontinental range of up to 3,000 nautical miles (5,556 km)*. Designed to provide a larger, more comfortable cabin than any existing midsize aircraft, this jet will offer eight passengers a stand-up cabin built to ensure superior productivity and comfort. Oct 30, 2007

Bombardier, SAS Scandinavian

Bombardier said on Oct. 29 it is disappointed with the SAS Scandinavian decision to permanently discontinue flight operations with the Bombardier DHC-8-Q400 aircraft given that the landing incident is still under investigation by Danish authorities. While SAS chose to ground its Q400 turboprop fleet following the incident on Oct. 27, 2007, Bombardier's assessment of this situation, in consultation with Transport Canada, did not identify a systemic landing gear issue. Based on this we advised all Q400 aircraft operators that they should continue with normal Q400 aircraft flight operations. Further, Bombardier and the landing gear manufacturer, Goodrich, have completed a full review of the Q400 turboprop landing gear system and results have confirmed its safe design and operational integrity. Bombardier stands behind the Q400 aircraft. Oct 29, 2007

Bombardier, SAS Scandinavian

No one was seriously injured in any of the three incidents of the SAS Scandinavian Airlines Bombardier DHC-8 turboprop aircraft, which all involved problems with landing gear. The airline has already said it would seek compensation totaling about SEK500 million kronor (USD$78 million) from Bombardier relating to cancellations after the first two Dash 8 incidents, one in Denmark and one in Lithuania, which led to hundreds of flights being cancelled. A spokesman for the airline, half of which is owned by Sweden, Norway and Denmark, said a total number of flights "in the 50s" from Denmark had been cancelled on Monday, plus nine from Norway. An SAS statement said eight flights from Sweden had been cancelled. Oct 29, 2007

Frontier Airlines

Frontier Airlines will build a new heavy maintenance base at Colorado Springs and plans to launch the $25 million construction project in late spring 2008. When completed in 12-18 months, the facility will employ around 225 and feature approximately 30,000 sq. ft. of hangar space, 45,000 sq. ft. of offices and support shops and 25,000 sq. ft. of warehouse and tool room space. Frontier, which currently leases space at Denver International, said it spent more than a year researching the site and that Colorado Springs "has proven. . .they understand the sensitivities our employees have with relocating and they recognized early on that any offer they made would have to be very financially compelling for us to consider it," according to President and CEO Sean Menke. The airline will launch DEN-COS service by the time construction begins. Nov 2, 2007

Frontier Airlines

Frontier plans big maintenance facility in Colorado Springs. Frontier Airlines CEO Sean Menke said today the airline will build a heavy maintenance hangar in Colorado Springs, Colo. Construction of the $25 million, 100,000-square-foot project is expected to start in the spring of 2008 and take 12 to 18 months to finish. Nov 2, 2007

Lockheed Martin

Canada's Federal Court of Appeal has ordered the Public Works department to stop work on equipping the nation's CF-18 fighter jets with laser-guided, smart-bomb technology. The department was ordered to comply with an international trade ruling requiring that the $180-million project be restarted amid allegations that the work had been improperly awarded to Lockheed Martin. Public Works cannot "ignore the recommendations made by the (tribunal) altogether solely because it disagrees with the decision," the court ruled. Competing bidders Raytheon and Northrop Grumman each said they submitted lower bids for the project. Nov 1, 2007

Mesa Airlines

Mesa to close maintenance facility: Mesa CEO Jonathan Ornstein said the carrier will close its Raleigh/Durham maintenance base on Nov. 5 and will instead do the work at Washington Dulles International Airport. Nov 2, 2007

Northrop Grumman

Northrop leads team for Coast Guard bid. Northrop Grumman will lead a team that includes Allied Technology Group, CACI International and Washington Group International in a bid to design a digital communications system for the Coast Guard. The Nationwide Automatic Identification System will continually transmit and receive vessel data, including identity, position, speed, course and destination, according to the contractor. The potential value of the contract has not been disclosed. Oct 30, 2007

Rockwell Collins, Bombardier

Rockwell Collins' HGS-4200 Head-Up Guidance System was chosen by Eurowings for its Bombardier CRJ700s. Deliveries began in September. Oct 30, 2007

United Airlines

United Airlines is abandoning testing of dual-end jetbridges following a malfunction in which a double-ended bridge hit and damaged the wing of a Boeing 757 at Denver International. Nov 1, 2007


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Publication:AirGuide Business
Article Type:Company overview
Date:Nov 5, 2007
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