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North America

By Frank Wolfe | February 1, 2014
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NextGen Tops US Transportation Issues for 2014

Photo: United

The Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) implementation of the next generation air transportation system NextGen is among the top transportation management challenges for the federal 2014 fiscal year, according to a new report.

The Department of Transportation’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG), which issued the report, believes the FAA needs to address the following key challenges: identifying and addressing the underlying causes of cost increases and schedule delays; integrating new Performance-Based Navigation (PBN) routes at the nation’s busiest airports; and further developing and implementing consolidation and modernization plans.


Global Hawk Completes First Canadian Civil Flight

Northrop Grumman’s Global Hawk Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) performed its first flight within Canadian civil airspace, a mission to collect environmental data in the Canadian Arctic.

The flight was part of a collaborative project between Northrop Grumman and the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center. Researchers equipped the aircraft with an Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar (UAVSAR) and a high-resolution camera to conduct ground mapping and visual observation of Arctic ice caps during a 21-hour flight.

Rockwell Collins Acquires ARINC For $1.4B

Rockwell Collins has completed its $1.4 billion acquisition of ARINC, the Cedar Rapids, Iowa-based aviation and defense electronics manufacturer said. Annapolis, Md.-based ARINC, provider of aviation information management services, was acquired from asset management firm the Carlyle Group. Rockwell Collins originally announced the purchase as an agreement in August 2013.

The company is looking to expand its aviation electronics business more into the commercial segment, with ARINC’s ground-based navigational networks, and increase its in-flight entertainment offerings.

JetBlue Launches Fly-Fi

Photo: Jet Blue

JetBlue Airways has launched the first carrier-based Ka-band satellite in-flight connectivity network with its Fly-Fi service.

The New York-based airline is rolling the new service out on three Airbus A320s initially, with plans to expand Fly-Fi across its entire commercial fleet by 2015. During the initial “Beta period,” passengers can use a free, basic web browsing service called “Simply Surf” onboard Fly-Fi equipped aircraft through June 2014, JetBlue said. A more advanced live video streaming high-bandwidth service, Fly-Fi Plus, is also offered for $9 per hour during this period.

The connectivity (Ka band) and TV antennas (Ku band) are installed under a single composite radome unit at the crown of the aircraft, while other Ka connectivity components are installed in the aircraft electronics bay and throughout the cabin.

Aerospace Sales Projected at $232B for 2014

Military spending cuts offset the increase in sales for commercial aircraft leading to a slight reduction in overall aerospace sales for 2013, however demand is expected to increase leading to an overall gain in 2014, according to the year-end forecast released by the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA).

The forecast projects a less than 1 percent drop in overall aerospace sales to $220 billion for 2013, down from $222 billion in 2012. However AIA is projecting a 5 percent increase to $232 billion in 2014, with the uptick coming mostly from strong civil aircraft sales growth.

Civil aircraft sales were projected to rise 7.7 percent to $67 billion this year from 2012, according to the report, but those gains are offset by a drop in military aircraft sales, as well as declines in missile, space and other aerospace sectors.

“Significantly, a nearly $5 billion increase in civil aircraft sales was offset by a nearly four billion decrease in military aircraft sales, and a $2 billion decline in civil and defense space sales,” said Marion Blakey, president and CEO of AIA, referring to aircraft spending in 2013.

“We believe strong civil aircraft sales growth and an uptick in the space sector will contribute to a total of roughly $232 billion in sales next year,” Blakey said.

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