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Sunday, April 1, 2007

Intelligence Commercial Edition: Briefs

FAA Excludes Some Struts

Aerometals’ PMA struts (P/N 369XH6001-41, -42, -51, 52) for the MD500 series helicopters have been excluded from the recent FAA Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NRPM) issued in January. The NRPM calls for the mandatory inspection, reworking or replacing of forward and aft struts on numerous MD Helicopter models. The proposal was prompted by five reports of landing gear strut failures on MD helicopters. The current NPRM revised an earlier directive by propsing to mandate both the creation of an access hole to facilitate inspections and a recurring inspection. The actions specified by this proposed AD are intended to detect a crack that could result in the failure of a strut.

New ACI-NA Principles

Airports Council International - North America’s Board of Directors approved six principles, which will guide the airport industry’s lobbying efforts on FAA reauthorization. The current authorizing legislation will expire on September 30, 2007. The ACI-NA reauthorization principles include: Increase the passenger facility charge (PFC) rate ceiling and give airports flexibility in rate-setting; streamline FAA’s management of the PFC Program; increase and strengthen the airport improvement program; improve the airport and airways trust fund to foster financial stability; treat airport bonds as tax-exempt public purpose bonds; and allow airports more financial flexibility.

New Zealand Orders 787s

The Boeing Company announced that Air New Zealand finalized an order for four additional 787-9s. This is Air New Zealand’s third order for the 787 Dreamliner, bringing its total order to eight. Deliveries of these four airplanes will take place from 2011 through 2013 and the value of this order is approximately $700 million at list prices. The 787 is an entirely new airplane incorporating composite technologies and new engines that contribute to operating efficiencies and performance characteristics exceeding conventional airframes. Boeing now has 468 orders and commitments from 37 customers for the 787 since its launch in April 2004.

DOT Requires Disclosure

The Department of Transportation requested input on a 2006 NTSB recommendation calling for air taxi’s to be required to disclose operational control information to customers. The DOT proposal sought comments on the recommendation that customers be advised, "at the time they contract for a flight," of: the name of the company with operational control of the flight; any "doing business as" names contained in such company’s operations specifications; the name of the aircraft owner; and the name of any broker involved in arranging the flight.

UPS Selects GE

UPS chose GE’s CF6-80C2 engines to power its 27 new Boeing 767-300ER freighters. Deliveries will begin in 2009, but the value on the engine order was not disclosed. UPS launched the Boeing 767-300ER freighter powered by these engines and currently operates 32 of these aircraft. The GE’s CF6 engine family has, for 35 years, been among the most utilized jet engines powering more than 10 models of wide-body aircraft and has provided service for almost 300 million flight hours.

NORDAM’s New Frames

NORDAM will supply The Boeing Company with its new composite window frame for the 787 Dreamliner. For eighteen months, a dedicated team of NORDAM and Boeing engineers worked together to develop detailed specifications, five unique design configurations, and qualification and certification testing used to produce the first composite window frame for a commercial airliner application. The initial ship sets have been delivered to Boeing’s fuselage manufacturing partners: Alenia, Kawaski Heavy Industries, Spirit Aerosystems and Vought Aircraft Industries.

Virgin America Signs GE

Virgin America has signed a 12-year OnPointSM Solutions agreement with GE Aviation Services for the maintenance and overhaul of the CFM56-5B engines that power its fleet of Airbus A319 and A320 aircraft. The agreement, which initially covers 70 installed and spare engines, is valued at more than $145 million of the life of the contract.

JorAMCo Gains Vueling

Jordan Aircraft Maintenance Ltd. (JorAMCo) and Vueling Airlines, a low-cost carrier (LCC) based in Spain, announced the signing of a long-term maintenance agreement. Under the terms of the agreement, JorAMCo will provide the Vueling fleet of 14 Airbus A320s with all airframe heavy maintenance requirements from its headquarters in Amman. Based in Barcelona, Vueling began operations in 2004 and currently serves 18 destinations in Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands.

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