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Company Watch - Boeing.

New York (AirGuideBusiness - Company Watch) Nov 15, 2009

National air carrier Air India has invited bids to put three of its Boeing 777 aircraft on sub-lease. OWe have plans to put three of our Boeing 777-200 (long range) aircraft on sub-lease,O sources in National Aviation Company of India Limited (NACIL) said. NACIL is the holding company formed after the merger of Air India and Indian Airlines into one single entity. The company has invited request for proposal from global players for the purpose, they said adding bids would be accepted till November 17. The Boeings, manufactured in 2007, are to be sub-leased for either short or long durations, sources said. Under dry lease, an aircraft is leased by a company without the crew, while a wet-leased plane would have the crew, engineering facilities as well as insurance cover borne by the lessor. Nov 4, 2009

The head of Boeing's 787 Dreamliner program said he's confident the U.S. aerospace company's newest passenger jet will have its first official flight this year.The Seattle Times reported Thursday that 787 program head Scott Fancher is confident the completion of reinforcements to the first Dreamliner's wing-body joint will pave the way for a 2009 flight. Fancher said, "the first flight of the 787 Dreamliner will occur before the end of the year." Any potential 2009 test flights of the Dreamliner model likely would not take place until mid-December as a series of tests on the aircraft has been scheduled. Boeing initially postponed the first flight of the Dreamliner in June after tests revealed delamination of the advanced airplane's composite carbon-fiber skin at the wing-body joint. Fancher explained in a statement once tests confirm the reinforcements are working properly, steps will be taken to work toward an official test flight, the newspaper said. "As soon as we confirm the loads are being handled appropriately in the joint we will complete pre-flight activities on the airplane," he said. Nov 12, 2009

Boeing, on Thursday afternoon, towed the first 747-8 Freighter out of the factory in Everett, Wash. The airplane, ultimately destined for Cargolux, will be painted and begin preparations for flight test. "It is very rewarding to see this airplane transition to the flight test phase," said Mo Yahyavi, 747 program vice president and general manager. "Our employees, suppliers and customers have put a lot of work into making the 747-8 Freighter a reality." The 747-8 Freighter is the new high-capacity 747 that will give cargo operators the lowest operating costs and best economics of any freighter airplane while providing enhanced environmental performance. It is 250 feet, 2 inches (76.3 m) long, which is 18 feet and 4 inches (5.6 m) longer than the 747-400 Freighter. The stretch provides customers with 16 percent more revenue cargo volume compared to its predecessor. That translates to four additional main-deck pallets and three additional lower-hold pallets. Boeing has secured 105 orders for the 747-8, 78 of which are orders for the new freighter. Cargolux, Nippon Cargo Airlines, AirBridgeCargo Airlines, Atlas Air, Cathay Pacific, Dubai Aerospace Enterprise, Emirates SkyCargo, Guggenheim and Korean Air all have placed orders for the 747-8 Freighter. Nov 12, 2009

Boeing has completed the first of three rounds of gauntlet testing on the 747-8 Freighter (RC501), marking a significant step towards the aircraft's first flight. RC501's two-day factory gauntlet took place on 4-5 November and consisted of ground control and autopilot checks, as well as testing of the flight deck and power systems. Gauntlet testing places the aircraft in a closed loop simulation that "fools" the aircraft systems into thinking they are flying. The factory gauntlet also represents the first major test of all of the aircraft systems as they operate in unison. Nov 12, 2009

Installation of the wing fix for the first Boeing 787 (ZA001) is now complete, with programme sources telling Flight InternationalOs affiliate FlightBlogger that flight-test schedules have readjusted to target late December for a first flight just before Christmas. Boeing declines to confirm the completion of the installation, but says it is Osatisfied with the progress being made with the modifications and are on track to fly before the end of the yearO. As part of the Z18 programme schedule, Boeing initially targeted late November for a first flight, but the ongoing pace of engineering design, the availability of the machined fittings and the installation of the wing fix has slid 787 first flight roughly a month to late December. Nov 11, 2009

The Boeing announced Friday it will lay off a third of its 1,000-member workforce at Kennedy Space Center next year. The layoffs will come in January, May and August as the shuttle program heads toward retirement. Some 330 workers will be laid off from Boeing's Checkout, Assembly and Payload Processing Services program, which has about 500 workers, spokeswoman Susan Wells said Friday. "Boeing is committed to preserving as many jobs as possible for our valued, highly skilled employees, and the company has taken aggressive steps to lessen the impact of these potential reductions," a company statement said. "These steps include redeploying CAPPS personnel to other programs, evaluating contract labor requirements, and offering career services and related assistance." Wells said the layoff numbers could change, up or down, if NASA changes its plans to end the shuttle program by 2011. "Based on what we know today, Boeing is planning to issue layoff notices to approximately 330 workers next year," said the Boeing statement. Nearly 1,000 space industry workers have lost their jobs this year because of cutbacks in the shuttle program in Brevard County. A total of 7,500 space industry workers are expected to face post-shuttle unemployment, and nearly three times as many related jobs could be lost. Recently, prime contractor United Space Alliance announced nearly 300 layoffs. On Wednesday, NASA carried out a successful test firing of a possible shuttle replacement rocket, the Ares, but the project remains behind schedule. So, even with massive increases to the NASA budget, the unemployment level in Brevard, now at 11.1 percent, could come close to the post-Apollo era level of 14.7 percent, the highest it's ever been. Nov 2, 2009

Boeing has contracted India's Hindustan Aeronautics to manufacture the composite flaperons for 777s. HAL will manufacture the parts in Bangalore and says deliveries will be made in phases "beginning in the next couple of years". Nov 2, 2009

Boeing and Raytheon have confirmed submitting proposals to the US Air Force for a contract to build its next major precision-guided munition. The air force is scheduled to award the small diameter bomb increment II (SDB II) contract in May 2010. The winner must finish off development and deliver the first operational system in 2014. The USAF plans to field the SDB II on the Boeing F-15E in fiscal year 2014 and the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter in FY2016, although the latter date depends on the availability of test aircraft, acquisition documents say. Nov 10, 2009

Cathay Pacific Airways is reducing the number of business-class seats on its 12 Boeing 777-300s and replacing these with economy seats. The carrier says the move is not because of low demand, but to bring the number of business-class seats in line with that on its other aircraft. The airline's 777-300s have 59 business-class seats each. Fourteen of these will be replaced with 27 economy seats, it says. As a result, the aircraft will have 353 economy seats instead of 326, it adds. Cathay operates the 777-300s on regional routes such as Taipei and Bangkok. Nov 12, 2009

DVB's Aviation Asset Management unit said it will remarket three EgyptAir Boeing 777-200ERs that were manufactured in 1997. Nov 6, 2009

Emirates, the Arab world's largest airline, could buy more aircraft from Boeing and Airbus and will see the delivery of some A380 planes on order delayed in 2010, its president said on Wednesday. "We are looking at it (buying more planes)... we are making the assessments, but clearly with the growth we have and the profit we made, there is nothing to suggest after the recession we shouldn't move rapidly," Tim Clark said. Clark said the airline's route expansion plans would be impacted next year due to a delivery delay in Airbus's A380 superjumbo. "We should have had 15 by June 2010... we are getting two in December and then the remaining 8 between January and November next year, so one or two are being pushed back." At the end of 2010 Emirates will operate 15 A380s instead of the planned 20 and it expects to take 11-12 aircraft in both 2012 and 2013. Delivery of its order for 58 should be finished by 2017. Clark also said Emirates is evaluating converting options on additional planes in order to take advantage of newly open delivery positions and that its Dubai-Incheon A380 service will begin Dec. 14. Nov 11, 2009

Garuda Indonesia is selling four Boeing 737-400s as it no longer needs the aircraft. The national carrier has issued a notice announcing that the 737-400s are up for auction, and that interested parties can inspect the aircraft from 23 November to 2 December. "We are getting 50 737-800s and 10 Boeing 777s, so we have no need for these 737-400s," says a Garuda spokesman. He adds that the airline wants a younger and more fuel-efficient fleet. In recent months, the airline has been receiving Airbus A330s and Boeing 737-800s on lease. Today, it is holding a ceremony in Jakarta to mark the delivery of its 17th 737-800 and 10th A330, says the spokesman. It will have 20 737-800s by year-end, he adds. According to AirGuideOs database, Garuda has 19 737-400s. It owns seven and all of the 737-400s were built in 1993. Nov 9, 2009

GE Commercial Aviation Services has revealed that it might place an order for as many as 30 Boeing 787s. The company's executivevice-president for product evaluation and strategy Bill Carpenter revealed the lessor's interest to Flight International during Flightglobal's US Valuation Conference in Washington DC in October. "We expect some delivery slots will open to accommodate an order of that size," he says. "GECAS would also seek to support previously committed airline customer orders through purchase and leaseback financing. Where there is customer demand, we want to be part of it." The sale and leaseback deals would be in addition to orders placed directly with Boeing, Carpenter says. Nov 6, 2009

Gol is close to completing a deal covering the return of one of its seven grounded Boeing 767s and is considering reactivating at least one 767 for its new Caribbean operation. The Brazilian airline group over the last several months has been negotiating with its 767 lessors potential early return deals and with other airlines potential sub-leases or wet-leases. Gol's Varig unit grounded all of its 767s last year after discontinuing its long-haul operation, although the carrier has been occasionally reactivating a 767 to operate a domestic flight in order to keep a small group of pilots current on the type. Gol, which following its 2007 acquisition of Varig entered into long-term lease deals for 14 767s, began the year with seven grounded 767s. It returned one aircraft in April as part of an exchange with ILFC which resulted in the carrier taking an additional Boeing 737-800. Nov 10, 2009

Hawaiian Airlines said it completed installation of Aviation Partners Boeing blended winglets on a 767-300. It expects to have winglets installed on eight 767s by next summer. Hawaiian estimated that winglets will produce savings of 700-800 gal. of fuel for every round trip between the US West Coast and Hawaii. Nov 6, 2009

Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI) says it its on track to deliver its first Boeing 767-300ER passenger-to-freighter conversion from its Bedek division by year-end end to Portugal-based charter operator euroAtlantic Airways. The first converted 767-300BDSF (Bedek special freighter) configuration, which includes a port-side front cargo door, completed first flight on 27 October, and is now in flight testing as part of the supplemental type certificate (STC) programme, says IAI. Bedek officials say they have "three or four" orders for the 767-300ER conversion, which will incorporate the company's first 9g rigid barrier separating the cockpit from the cargo bay. Nov 5, 2009

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines will be the first airline in the world to make a demonstration flight on bio-kerosene with a select group of passengers. This will also be the first ever flight in Europe on bio-kerosene. On 23 November 2009, KLM will operate a flight using Boeing 747 equipment. One of the aircraft engines will be running on a fuel mixture made up of 50 percent sustainable bio-fuel and 50 percent traditional kerosene. OThis is an important step on the road to completely sustainable aviation,O said KLM President & CEO Peter Hartman. OKLM has joined forces with its partners to vigorously stimulate the further development of alternative fuels. In so doing, we need to rely on the input and support of all the relevant parties: the business community, government and society at large.OO Along with Air France, KLM has for many years led the airline industry in the field of sustainable development. For example, Air France-KLM this year topped the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for the fifth consecutive time. The Dutch wing of the Worldwide Fund for Nature (Wereld Natuurfonds [ETH] WNF) also voted KLM its Business Partner of the year for 2009. OIn the decades ahead, the airline industry will be largely dependent on the availability of alternative fuels in its drive to lower CO2 emissions,O said KLM Managing Director Jan Ernst de Groot, who will present the plans on Wednesday afternoon at the 2009 National Innovation Relay at Valkenburg Airbase. Nov 4, 2009

NASA's Langley Research Center plans to issue a contract to Boeing to perform noise studies of open rotor engine configurations on several types of airframes in a company-owned low-speed aeroacoustics facility. Airbus and Boeing are each considering new-generation and highly efficient open rotor engine designs as potential candidates to succeed their A320 and 737 families of aircraft in the 2020 timeframe and beyond. However, experiments in the 1980s with open rotor designs by several engine manufacturers revealed high noise levels to be a key impediment to bringing them to market. The Boeing contract, called the open rotor propulsion airframe aeroacoustics experiment, will follow earlier research performed by the company for NASA under a $60 million multi-year structures and materials programme that also involved contracts with Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Analytic Services and Materials. Nov 6, 2009

NASA's Langley Research Centre plans to issue a contract to Boeing to perform noise studies of open rotor engine configurations on several types of airframes in a company-owned low-speed aeroacoustics facility. Boeing and Airbus are both considering new generation and highly efficient open rotor engine designs as potential candidates for the successor to the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 families of aircraft in the 2020 and timeframe and beyond. Experiments in the 1980s with open rotor designs by several engine manufacturers revealed noise as a key issue in bringing the designs to market. The Boeing contract, called the open rotor propulsion airframe aeroacoustics experiment, will follow earlier research performed by the company for NASA under a $60 million multi-year structures and materials program that also involved contracts with Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Analytic Services and Materials. The previous work included propulsion/airframe aeroacoustic integration and experimentation with jet engine integration with both traditional tube/wing and blended wing-body aircraft configurations, according to NASA. Nov 4, 2009

Two Qantas pilots have been suspended for failing to deploy the landing gear on a Boeing 767. They did a go-around at Sydney airport after the aircraft's ground proximity warning system alerted them to the problem at about 700ft (215m) on a 2 November flight from Melbourne. Qantas flight JQ12, a Boeing 767, was on approach at Sydney Airport on October 26th, when the pilots received a "gear too low" warning at about 700 feet. They had forgotten to put their landing gear down. They reacted quickly, aborted the landing and flew around again. Normally the aircraft should lower its gear between 2000 and 1500 feet. It appears there was a communication breakdown between who was lowering the gear. Both pilots have stepped down during the investigation. Nov 9, 2009

Qantas Airways has suspended two pilots over an incident in which they failed to deploy the landing gear on a Boeing 767 and this meant the aircraft had to do a go-around at Sydney Airport. The aircraft's ground proximity warning system alerted the pilots to the problem, when the aircraft was about 700ft off the ground, confirms a Qantas spokesman. The incident occurred on 2 November as the Qantas 767 was coming into land at Sydney Airport, after completing a flight from Melbourne. Normally the landing gear is deployed at 1,500ft to 2,000ft. Because the aircraft was so low to the ground, the pilots had to boost power to the engines and do a go-around, adds the spokesman. The failure to deploy the landing gear was due to "a brief communication breakdown" between the pilots, says Qantas. Nov 4, 2009

The airline and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau have launched investigations into the October 26 incident. The pilots are due to be interviewed by authorities on Friday. The crew on the Melbourne-Sydney CityFlyer service apparently recognized the problem and had started go-around procedures when they received a "gear too low" aural warning from the aircraft's enhanced ground proximity warning system. It is understood investigators are looking at possible human error and a communication breakdown between the first officer and captain about who was lowering the landing gear. According to a former Boeing 767 pilot, a crew on an instrument approach would normally start lowering the undercarriage when the plane was between 2000ft and 1500ft in order to ensure that it met requirements that the aircraft was stable and configured to land at 1000ft. In visual conditions, the aircraft needed to be stable by 500ft, but lowering the gear at 700ft or even at 1000ft was still far too late, the pilot said. Landing gear problems or gear-up situations were involved in 15 per cent of airline hull-loss accidents last year, according to an analysis by the International Air Transport Association. But Qantas said yesterday that a crew failing to lower the undercarriage was extremely rare and it was taking the incident seriously. "The flight crew knew all required procedures but there was a brief communications breakdown," a spokeswoman said. "They responded quickly to the situation and instigated a go-around. The cockpit alert coincided with their actions. There was no flight safety issue. "The incident was reported to the ATSB and the pilots were stood down. We are supporting the ATSB's investigation and our own investigations will determine what further action might be warranted." The 767 incident happened just two days before the autopilot disconnected on a Jetstar A330-200 on route to the Gold Coast from Tokyo after it experienced a speed-sensing problem similar to one linked to the crash of an Air France jet in June. Nov 3, 2009

Irish low-cost airline Ryanair, reporting a surge in first half profit, on Monday threatened to cancel or delay orders for 200 planes from US aircraft manufacturer Boeing unless it gets a better deal. The carrier also warned that despite its positive performance in the April to September period, the first half of its financial year, falling fares would mean losses in the second half. The airline made the threat as it posted an 80% increase in after-tax profit, to U387 million ($571 million), for the half-year. Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary said in a statement that "little progress" had been made in talks with Boeing on an order for 200 planes to be delivered between 2013 and 2016. "We won't continue these discussions indefinitely and have signalled to Boeing that if they are not completed by the year end, then Ryanair will end its relationship with Boeing and confirm a series of order deferrals or cancellations," he said. "We see no point in continuing to grow rapidly in a declining yield environment where our main aircraft partner is unwilling to play its part in our cost reduction programme by passing on some of the enormous savings which Boeing has enjoyed both from suppliers and more efficient manufacturing in recent years." He added that money not spent on the new Boeing planes could be distributed to shareholders. Ryanair exclusively flies Boeing 737 series aircraft. O'Leary described market conditions in Ireland and Europe as "difficult," with the effect of weak consumer confidence exacerbated by "misguided" tourist taxes in Britain and Ireland "levied on air passengers but not on competing ferry or train journeys." He urged the British and Irish governments "to scrap these stupid taxes and reduce airport charges," warning that Britain faced a nearly 10 percent decline air traffic and Ireland a 15 percent fall. Net profit at Ryanair shot up 80 percent to 387 million euros (570.8 million dollars) in April-September compared with the same period a year earlier, the airline said in a statement. "Ryanair's ability to grow both traffic and profits during the half year is a testament to the strength of Ryanair?s lowest fare model and our relentless cost discipline," Leary said in the statement. "However these results are heavily distorted by a 42 percent fall in fuel costs which has masked a significant 17 percent decline in average fares. "We expect average fares to decline by up to 20 percent during quarters three and four which will result in both these quarters being loss-making." Despite the expected losses, O'Leary said the forecast for the full year was "substantially profitable, at a time when many of our competitors are losing money, consolidating or going bust." O'Leary had some crisp advice for British Airways counterpart Willie Walsh who he said had "not been radical enough" in dealing with BA personnel. "I am shocked to read that crew meals on BA cost 6.5 million pounds a year," he told BBC News, noting that BA wants to cut that cost to 2.5 million. "Why don't BA crews pay for the whole bloody meal and then save the entire 6.5 million (pounds) and pass it on to hard-pressed BA customers in the form of lower fares? The days of rich fat cat employee deals are over." O'Leary maintained that at Ryanair "we pay our people very well but they work hard, they buy their own meals, which is what everybody should do, and that's why we are able to pass on cheap airfares ... for the travelling public." Rynair posted an annual net loss of 169 million euros for its last financial year to March 2009, blaming a 59-percent jump in fuel costs due to record high oil prices as well as a large writedown on its stake in Irish carrier Aer Lingus. Revenues dipped two percent to 1.8 billion euros in the first half of the 2009-2010 fiscal year. But the carrier said it was "well positioned" to benefit from global economic recovery as a result of its growth strategy. "Ryanair remains ideally positioned to return to substantial profit growth as Europe emerges from this economic downturn," O'Leary said. Nov 2, 2009

Irish budget carrier Ryanair is threatening to cancel or defer aircraft orders from Boeing, and temporarily stem its growth, if it fails to secure a fleet-renewal agreement this year. The airline made the threat as it posted an 80% increase in after-tax profit, to U387 million ($571 million), for the half-year. Ryanair chief Michael O'Leary says the airline has made "little progress" in its discussions with the airframer over a potential order for 200 aircraft for deliveries in 2013-16. Nov 2, 2009

China's SF Express has taken delivery of its first aircraft, a Boeing 757-200PCF converted by Precision Conversions, which will be operated by SF's newly established airline subsidiary. Precision Conversions vice president marketing and sales Brian McCarthy says SF, which in July contracted Precision to convert one 757, took delivery of the completed aircraft last week. He says the aircraft is now in China getting painted and it is "the first of a dozen" 757s SF plans to add to its fleet over the next few years. SF Express is one China's largest cargo and logistics companies with about 65,000 employees. But while SF has had a gigantic fleet of trucks until now, it has relied on wet-leased capacity from other Chinese cargo carriers to support its express network. Privately-owned SF first indicated in 2007 it intended to launch its own cargo airline and began acquiring 757 passenger aircraft for the project. The new Shenzhen-based carrier, which has been referred to as SF Airlines and Shunfeng Aviation, is expected to launch operations later this month with an initial investment from SF Express and Chinese investment firm Shenzhen Taihai. The airline secured initial approval from the CAAC last December. Nov 4, 2009

TUI Travel aims to cut its carbon footprint with technologically-advanced Boeing 787 aircraft joining its fleet [ETH] although the recession means it has cancelled 10 of the 23 it had originally ordered. The travel giant generates an annual carbon footprint of 7.6m tons by flying its 30 million customers on holiday each year. Speaking at the launch of World Travel MarketOs World Responsible Tourism Day, chief executive Peter Long said TUI had cut its emissions by 8 percent between 2007-08, partly thanks to efficiencies created with the First Choice/Thomson merger, but in the next three or four years, it hopes to cut a further 6 percent. Nov 11, 2009

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Date:Nov 16, 2009
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