March 2006 
Volume 04, Issue 10 
Industry Wrap

Europe mulls long-haul airplane buys

Major European airlines with long-haul routes are evaluating options on replacing their wide-body jetliners and could reach decisions as soon as sometime this year.

In recent months, long-haul airlines in Asia and the Middle East, including Emirates, Qantas and Cathay Pacific, announced purchasing decisions. According to a report in Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine, Europe 's biggest long-haul airlines—Lufthansa, Air France and British Airways could be following their lead.


Spirit AeroSystems results beat expectations

Spirit AeroSystems, formerly Boeing's Commercial Airplanes operation in Wichita, Kan., turned in a higher-than-expected financial performance in its first six months of business, Spirit officials said last month, according to the Wichita Eagle.



Army acquisition chief to industry: Schedule counts

The U.S. Army's top acquisition official told the industry to stay on schedule.

"If we do not stay on track, we're dead meat: the money will be taken away from us," Claude Bolton, assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology, said at the Association of the United States Army Winter Symposium last month, according to a Defense Daily report.

So far, schedules have been met, he said in the Defense Daily report, noting that the Army's Future Combat Systems is performing on cost and schedule, as are aviation modernization plans. Boeing is partnered with Science Applications International Corp. as the lead systems integrator for FCS.

To keep up with requirements, Bolton told symposium attendees, "I'll take any idea that you have." However, according to Defense Daily, he told attendees to come in with a prototype or a coupon that could be tested. "Soldiers can't wait six months," he said.

China outlines plans to maintain aviation growth

China 's aviation industry plans to buy 100 new airplanes and hire 1,000 pilots each year for the next five years, Chinese officials said last month.

China is already the fastest growing aviation market in the world. Since 2000, passenger numbers have risen by 105 percent to 138 million a year and the combined fleet of the country's air companies rose to 863 planes from 527, various news reports said.

The Chinese government said air traffic has doubled in the past five years. Indeed, officials from the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China admitted the expansion plan would put a strain on operators.

"We must impose restrictions to guarantee safety and the steady forward development of the industry," said Gao Hongfeng, GACAC deputy director, at a news conference where he announced the plans to add airplanes and pilots. "There are over 5,000 flights every day and more than 11,000 takeoffs and landings in airports."

Airbus to test new winglets for single-aisle jetliners

Airbus last month said it's studying new wingtip devices for its single-aisle aircraft, to help improve wing aerodynamics and thus reduce fuel burn. According to a Dow Jones International News service report, Airbus this month will test two different new wingtip device types. In addition, JetBlue Airways, a U.S.-based low-cost carrier that flies A320s, will provide an airplane for part of the flight-test program.

Wichita, Kan.–based Winglet Technology LLC will provide one of the winglet designs for testing, Dow Jones said.

The first set of wingtip devices arrived at the A320 final assembly line in Toulouse, France, at the beginning of February, Dow Jones said. Depending on the analysis of the results from the flight-test program, Airbus will decide later this year how to proceed, the news service said.


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