Embraer-Boeing aviation deal blocked by Brazilian court

BRASILIA  A Brazilian federal court on Thursday granted an injunction blocking the proposed tie-up between U.S. planemaker Boeing Co (BA.N) and Embraer SA (EMBR3.SA), a deal the Brazilian company says is crucial to its survival.The logo of Brazilian aviation company Embraer is seen during the Latin American Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition fair (LABACE) at Congonhas Airport in Sao Paulo, Brazil August 14, 2018. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker

Embraer shares in Sao Paulo closed 2.42 percent lower, although it remained too early to say whether the injunction will actually block or significantly affect the deal. Labor groups in Brazil often bring court challenges against significant business deals and the injunction could be reversed.

The decision forbids Embraer’s board of directors from signing the deal to create a joint venture on commercial aviation that Boeing would control. Boeing declined to comment and Embraer did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

The companies announced in July that Embraer would sell 80 percent of its commercial aviation business to Boeing in a deal valuing that segment at $4.75 billion. Embraer, among the world’s largest makers of mid-sized planes of up to 150 passengers, used to compete in that segment with Canada’s Bombardier Inc (BBDb.TO).

The deal has stalled partly because the Brazilian government, which has veto power at the planemaker, has been reluctant to give it a greenlight. Only then could the company call a shareholders meeting to approve it.

In his decision, judge Victorio Giuizio Neto cast doubt that the proposed deal would be good for Embraer’s bottom line.

“The reason is very simple, Boeing is not giving up anything” in this transaction, he wrote. The decision says Embraer would give up its profitable commercial division.

He added that the new company would threaten the rights of the Brazilian government because it would restrict its control over Embraer to the part of the company that will not be sold to Boeing.

Bombardier spun off its mid-sized commercial jet division earlier this year after selling a controlling stake to Boeing rival Airbus (AIR.PA).U.S. wants Huawei CFO to face fraud charges: court

The deal between Boeing and Embraer is widely seen as a reaction to an earlier deal between that joint venture.

Boeing and Airbus historically have produced larger aircraft than Embraer and Bombardier. But the mid-sized segment is expected to grow substantially, which would give Airbus a significant advantage over Boeing unless the U.S. planemaker also expands into that market.

Brazil President Michel Temer said he would leave the decision to the future administration, which takes office Jan. 1. President-elect Jair Bolsonaro has said he is in favor of the deal.

Reporting by Ricardo Brito; Additional reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and David Gregorio

United moves deeper into Latin America with Avianca, Copa tie-up

CHICAGO, SAO PAULO (Reuters) – United Continental Holdings Inc (UAL.O) on Friday said it had finalized a three-way joint venture with carriers Avianca Holdings SA AVT_p.CN of Colombia and Copa Airlines of Panama, giving the U.S. airline a deeper foothold in Latin America where travel demand is rising

A customer is reflected in a screen showing the schedule times of United at Newark International airport in New Jersey , November 15, 2012. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz/File Photo

Like its main U.S. rivals, No. 3 U.S. carrier United has been eyeing untapped potential for leisure and business travelers in Latin America, where many still travel long distances by car and bus.

United, Avianca and Copa are already codeshare partners and Star Alliance members, but a joint venture will allow them to plan routes and fares together and share revenues on those routes.

Shares in each of the three carriers ended higher on Friday.

Under the deal, United said it would provide a $456 million term loan to cash-strapped Avianca’s top shareholder, Synergy Group Corp. Loss-making Avianca has a roughly $4 billion debt pile, of which 40 percent is due within the next two years, according to recent financial statements.

Latin American airlines in general have experienced a turbulent few years, hit by a double whammy of high oil prices and devaluing currencies in local markets, which make it more expensive to cover dollar-denominated costs like fuel and aircraft rent.

Travel has also suffered in the dominant regional economy Brazil, which has suffered from its deepest recession in decades but remains the largest aviation market in the region, and one of the biggest in the world.Huawei arrest threatens trade truce

United, which already owns an 8 percent stake in Brazilian carrier Azul SA, said it was exploring the possibility of adding the country to its joint partnership with Avianca and Copa.

The three carriers’ agreement is subject to regulatory approval in the United States and several jurisdictions in Central and South America. Copa Airlines said in a press release that process would take between 12 and 18 months.

However, a similar deal between American Airlines Group (AAL.O) and Chile’s Latam Airlines Group (LTM.SN) signed in January 2016 only received Chilean antitrust approval last month.

United’s deal with Avianca, long in the works, had undergone significant legal back-and-forth after the Colombian flagship carrier’s No. 2 shareholder Kingsland Ltd tried to halt negotiations between United and Synergy. The parties eventually came to an agreement.

Reporting by Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru and Tracy Rucinski in Chicago; additional reporting by Marcelo Alonso Rochabrun in Sao Paulo and Julia Symmes Cobb in Bogota; Editing by Shailesh Kuber and Tom Brown.

Lockheed-Airbus venture ups the pressure on Boeing to deliver its US Air Force tankers

WASHINGTON and COLOGNE, Germany — Lockheed Martin and Airbus have agreed to develop a new aerial-refueling service aimed at the U.S. Air Force, upping the pressure on incumbent Boeing to deliver its KC-46 tankers on time.

The two companies, industry behemoths on each side of the Atlantic, hailed the pact for combining Airbus’s A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) plane with Lockheed Martin’s systems-integration expertise and “presence” on the U.S. defense market. In essence, the joint venture could provide Airbus with another bite at the massive Air Force air-tanking apple after rival Boeing won the bid to build a fleet of new aircraft in 2011.

“The companies are taking a cooperative approach, with the Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (A330 MRTT) at its heart, to examine a broad spectrum of opportunities,” reads a Dec. 4 joint Lockheed-Airbus statement. “These may range from ways to support critical near-term air-refueling needs, such as a fee-for-service structure to conceptualizing the tanker of the future.

The partnership comes as the Air Force is eager to get more tanking assets to meet the demands of the new U.S. National Defense Strategy. In September, the service announced that it will need at least 14 additional tanker squadrons by 2030.

The Air Force plans to buy 179 KC-46 tankers from Boeing so that it can begin phasing out older models, but the company has missed key delivery dates multiple times — most recently this October. And even after Boeing begins delivering planes at a steady clip, there may be a requirement for more than a hundred new tankers beyond the KC-46 program of record.

One thing to watch will be whether the Air Force is amenable to the proposed fee-for-service model involving planes from outside its own fleet.

On one hand, the service has gotten more comfortable in paying companies for flying hours used to help accomplish critical missions where there is an aircraft shortfall, said Doug Birkey, executive director of the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies. One example is the forthcoming deals with private companies to provide aircraft and pilots posing as enemies during air-battle drills, which are anticipated to be awarded next year.Sign up for our Military Space Report
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But on the other hand, “in the scheme of acquisition and the Department of Defense, the KC-46 is really not doing that bad at all,” Birkey said.A

The Boeing-made tanker has encountered yet another set of issues.By: Valerie Insinna

Richard Aboulafia, a defense analyst with the Teal Group, argued the Airbus-Lockheed agreement makes a lot of sense.

However, it comes with two huge questions: Who pays for the planes that are used to fly missions for the U.S. Air Force, and what kind of a contract is the Lockheed-Airbus team expecting?

“Airbus and Lockheed [could] team up to take that risk. Lockheed is not famous for taking commercial risks. Quite the opposite,” Aboulafia said.

Another confusing note is the companies’ stated desire to begin “conceptualizing the tanker of the future,” according to the news release. Lockheed and Airbus have different core competencies — Airbus as a massive producer of commercial airliners able to divert that technology to low-risk solutions, and Lockheed as a developer of cutting-edge, military-specific aircraft, Aboulafia said.

If the Air Force’s future tanker is a “stealthy, high-tech military aircraft, then Lockheed certainly doesn’t need Airbus,” he said. If the partnership is to build the KC-Y, another airliner-based tanker to follow the KC-46, Airbus has a lot of technology to bring to the table, “but I’m not sure what’s in it for Lockheed.”

AirlineRatings names ‘most excellent’ airlines for 2018

Air New Zealand gets regular kudos for innovating everything from in-flight services to safety videos, its funky films featuring Hobbits and other famous Kiwis.
And now, for the fifth consecutive year, the carrier has come out on top in the annual Airline Excellence Awards, created by Australia-based aviation safety and product rating agency AirlineRatings.
Celebrating the best in the aviation industry — from budget operators to culinary champions — the awards named Air New Zealand as Airline of the Year for 2018.
“Air New Zealand came out number one — or equal first — in all of our audit criteria, which is an exceptional performance,” the AirlineRatings judging panel said.

In-flight product

Air New Zealand won AirlineRatings' "Airline of the Year" award.

Air New Zealand won AirlineRatings’ “Airline of the Year” award.
Courtesy Air New Zealand From AirlineRatings
The awards take into account four major international industry and government safety audits as well as fleet age, passenger reviews, profitability, investment ratings and key product offerings.
“We also look to see if the airline is an innovator trying new things to improve the passenger experience,” says Geoffrey Thomas, editor-in-chief of AirlineRatings.com.
In the premium stakes, Singapore Airlines took top spot for First Class — the airline’s name being “synonymous with excellence of in-flight product,” according to AirlineRatings.
Best Business Class went to Virgin Australia for the second consecutive year —
Virgin’s “The Business” suite is a luxurious offering — unrivaled by other executive options.
AirlineRatings also reviewed the economy options — Air New Zealand won Best Premium Economy, whilst Best Economy went to Korean Air in recognition of its spacious seats.
“Our editorial team places significant importance on premium economy on a long-haul airline,” says Thomas. “It is without doubt the best value proposition for the passenger and airline.
Australian airline Qantas also had a good run, winning Best Catering, Best Lounges and Best Domestic Class.

Seven-star safety

Singapore First Class (2)

Singapore Airlines took the top spot for First Class.
Courtesy Singapore Airlines From AirlineRatings
Alongside the Airline Excellence Award winners, AirlineRatings announced its Top 10 airlines for 2018.
The carriers named in the round-up have a seven-star safety rating and have demonstrated their innovation, according to AirlineRatings.
”Whether number one or number 10 these airlines are the best of the best — the elite in aviation,” the judging team commented. “They are the trendsetters and the benchmark by which all others are judged.”
Related content
AirlineRatings says its judging team includes experts who’ve been assessing the world of aviation for 20 years.
While the top airline list favors antipodean carriers, Thomas insists the process is “objective and not open to abuse,” with criteria assessed carefully and combined into a spreadsheet to arrive at the award-winners.
Related content

AirlineRatings.com‘s top 10 airlines for 2018

1. Air New Zealand
2. Qantas Airways
3. Singapore Airlines
4. Virgin Australia
5. Virgin Atlantic
6. Etihad Airways
7. All Nippon Airways
8. Korean Air
9. Cathay Pacific Airways
10. Japan Airlines

EASA orders safety checks of AW169, AW189 tail rotors

Operators of Leonardo AW169 and AW189 helicopters have been ordered to conduct immediate inspections of their tail rotors in the wake of a fatal AW169 crash in Leicester, England, on Oct. 27.

The AW169 helicopter was a familiar sight at the stadium.

The AW169 helicopter that crashed in Leicester was a familiar sight at King Power Stadium. Pete White Photo

In an emergency airworthiness directive (AD) issued on Nov. 7, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) called for AW169 and AW189 operators to check for correct installation of the tail rotor servo-actuator within five flight hours or 24 hours, whichever occurs first.

The AD was prompted by the crash of an AW169 owned by Leicester City Football Club owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha as it departed from King Power Stadium following a match. Bystander video showed the aircraft performing a vertical takeoff from the field, then spinning out of control before transitioning into forward flight.

The aircraft crashed outside of the stadium and burst into flames, killing all five people on board, including Srivaddhanaprabha.

The United Kingdom’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) is conducting an investigation into the accident, “the root cause of which has not been identified,” according to the EASA AD.

However, as a precautionary measure, manufacturer Leonardo Helicopters issued an emergency alert service bulletin (ASB) for AW169s, instructing operators to check for correct installation of the tail rotor servo-actuator. Subsequently, Leonardo issued an ASB with the same instructions for AW189 helicopters, which have a similar tail rotor design.

The EASA AD requires operators to comply with the instructions of the applicable ASB. “The incorrect installation of the [tail rotor] servo-actuator, if not detected and corrected, depending on the flight condition, could possibly result in loss of control of the helicopter,” the AD states

Operators who discover damage or other findings during the inspection of the tail rotor servo-actuator are required to contact Leonardo for approved instructions. Operators with no findings are instructed to “apply a paint mark on the nut from the rod end to the hinge bracket element in accordance with the instructions of the applicable ASB.”

The AAIB has yet to issue an interim report on its investigation into the Leicester accident. In its last updateon Nov. 2, the agency reported that it was able to successfully download recordings from the aircraft’s digital flight recorder.

“Our inspectors are verifying the extracted information and have started the detailed analysis of its contents,” the agency stated.

Airbus Helicopters to open new MRO complex in Japan

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Airbus Helicopters is set to open a new maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) complex near its current facility at Kobe Airport in Japan.

The company is expected to start construction next June and plans to commission the facility next November.

Airbus’ existing Kobe Airport Facility can concurrently accommodate up to 25 medium-sized helicopters and includes the company’s regional engineering hub.

It is also equipped with a full-motion full-flight helicopter simulator, which has provided training to more than 500 pilots and engineers across Japan.

Airbus’ proposed complex is set to expand its presence in the country and will enable the company to become the largest aviation business at the Kobe Airport with a total space of 19,685m².

“We have been building up our capabilities in Kobe over the years and believe the site offers a lot of growth potential.”

The facility will include a hangar, an administration office and a purpose-built warehouse.

It is expected to increase Airbus Helicopters’ overall capacity by 60% to handle nearly 40 medium-sized helicopters simultaneously.

Airbus Helicopters Japan managing director Olivier Tillier said: “Japan is an important market for Airbus Helicopters. This additional facility is part of our growth plan in the country and demonstrates our commitment to strengthening our support for our customers’ fleets while responding to their increasing demand for aftersale support services.

“We have been building up our capabilities in Kobe over the years and believe the site offers a lot of growth potential.

“With a larger capacity, we will be able to offer our complete suite of support and services to our customers, spanning after-sales customer support, MRO, engineering, technical support, simulator training and warehousing.”

Since 1961, Airbus Helicopters Japan has delivered more than 440 helicopters to operators and customers in the country.

The company aims to boost its market position in accordance with Japan’s projected fleet growth of 2% per annum over the next 20 years.

The Next Boeing 787? China And Russia Spending $20 Billion To Compete With Aircraft By Mid 2020’s

CR929-mock-up

A joint effort between Russia and China is aiming to create a brand new aircraft to compete with Boeing and Airbus. The $20 billion project sees Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation and The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China working together. The new aircraft was unveiled as a life-size model at China’s biannual airshow. The CR929 would be comprised of a fuselage designed by China, and wings designed by Russia. The co-operative venture between the two countries has been called the China-Russia Commercial Aircraft International Corporation, or CRAIC for short.

CR929
A model of the CR929 displayed at the Paris Air Show. Photo: Marc Lacoste

Airbus Boeing Competitor

The new aircraft is being designed to compete with Airbus and Boeing, notably the A350 and B787. CRAIC is hoping that the aircraft could take its first flight some time in 2023. This represents a two year delay from the originally estimated 2021 first flight date. In turn this would allow for introduction between 2025 and 2028. UAC, the Russian entity, believes that 8,000 wide body aircraft will be needed by 2033, including a significant number for China. The current aim set by CRAIC is to claim 10% of the wide body market. The company will achieve this by making the aircraft 10-15% cheaper to run than its competitors.

CR929
A life-size mock up of the CR929.

Life-size Model Unveiled

Now CRAIC has unveiled a life-size model of the CR929. The model was unveiled at the Zhuhai Airshow taking place in China between 6th and 11th November. The company held a ceremony to unveil the design which was attended by senior executives from both the Chinese and Russian components of CRAIC. At the ceremony, UAC’s President Yury Slyusar told how the project is making good progress.

“Our program is making progress and is on schedule. It is currently in the preliminary design phase and we are also in the supplier and equipment selection phase, which will finish by the end of 2019.

As the project is still in the supplier and equipment selection phase, much of the cockpit of the model was comprised of generic equipment, however, a key design detail was given away. Instead of opting for the control column traditionally favoured by Boeing, the aircraft has been designed with a side stick, similar to Airbus.

CR929
Inside the CR929 model.

One Of Many New Aircraft

The CR929 is one of many new aircraft being designed by China to compete with the traditional manufacturers. Comac, the Chinese part of the CRAIC duo, is designing a number of different aircraft. Their first jet, the ARJ21 has been in service since June 2016. The C919, a medium range narrow body aircraft, took its first flight in May 2017. The first delivery of this aircraft is planned for 2021, followed by the 929.

What do you think of the CR929? Will the project be delivered to schedule? Let us know in the comments below!

Airbus needs more than 200 aircraft deliveries in two months to meet 2018 goal

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Airbus went full throttle on aircraft deliveries in October, handing over 81 commercial jets to customers last month.

But, after having been hit by supplier disruptions earlier in the year that it continues to wrestle with, that still leaves the European manufacturer plenty of work to do in the final two months of the year to reach its target for the year.

Airbus finished October with 584 deliveries, meaning it still has 216 to go to reach its goal of 800 deliveries for 2018.

The company said last week as part of its latest earnings report that it was still targeting 800 deliveries, although that goal would now include the 18 deliveries of A220 jets it expects to make.

That is the jet that was previously the Bombardier C Series, with Airbus closing on its majority stake in the program in July.

Of the October deliveries, 48 were from the A320neo line that has been hampered by delays from engine suppliers.

Airbus’ rival, the Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA), hasn’t yet released its October delivery numbers. It has also dealt with supplier disruptions, but finished September with 568 deliveries on the year so far.

Boeing also ended September with 631 net orders. That means it will still have a comfortable lead on that metric, as Airbus reported 340 net orders through the end of October.

Between Spirit AeroSystems Inc. (NYSE: SPR), other local commercial aerospace manufacturers and Airbus Americas Engineering, Wichita has a role in the design, production and support of all of the aircraft in the two companies’ combined commercial product lines.

Pratt Begins Connected Factory Trials in Singapore

Efficiency increases and productivity boosts driving the OEM’s digital project.

601x339-PW-GTF-engine-pic-2

Pratt & Whitney began trials of its Connected Factory concept Nov. 5 at the company’s MRO facility in Singapore’s Seletar Aerospace Park.

The engine manufacturer’s digital transformation initiative aims to increase efficiency and boost productivity using customized off-the-shelf software developed by Dassault Systèmes.

The project will include a “lighthouse” cell in the repair shop, implementation of intelligent scheduling and overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) metrics, software adoption and sensor installation.

“This will give us good analytics on how the machines are running” and help prevent potential breakdowns, Pratt SD-aftermarket operations Asia Pacific Brendon McWilliam said.

The system, already in use at the company’s manufacturing plant in Connecticut, “will allow us to put engine parts through the most efficient flow and to cut down on bottlenecks,” McWilliam said.

The initial trial, including setup, will last about three months, followed by a six-month study of the relevant data.

Pratt plans to roll out the system to the remaining four facilities in Singapore by 2020 and at the company’s shops in New Zealand and China beginning in 2021.

Pratt has plans for the full digitalization of the shop floor with other initiatives, such as automated digital measurement, paperless work orders and digital material management, McWilliam said.

“A lot of companies are now looking at digital transformation and people are curious to see how these transformations will affect the end user,” he said.

UTAS, Lufthansa Technink Team Up On PW1100G Component Repairs

Deal expands cooperation between the two companies across Airbus, Boeing platforms.

DLH-A320-neo-HOWARTH

UTC Aerospace Systems (UTAS) and Lufthansa Technik (LHT) are teaming up to support each other’s aftermarket businesses for certain Pratt & Whitney PW1100G-JM components, agreeing to a “life-of-program” component-service agreement for parts supplied by UTAS, the companies will announce.

Under the deal, set to be unveiled Nov. 8, LHT will develop repairs for certain UTAS-supplied engine accessories, while the supplier will provide parts and repair services to LHT. The agreement covers specific accessories for the Airbus A320neo engines, including the integrated fuel pump and control, the electronic engine control, and the air turbine starter.

The agreement will see UTAS using the LHT-developed repairs in its shops, while the German MRO provider will leverage UTAS’s parts-supply and component-repair services to support its customer base. UTAS and Pratt are both part of United Technologies.

“Our customers will benefit greatly as we combine Lufthansa Technik’s maintenance, repair and overhaul capabilities with the design knowledge of UTC Aerospace Systems,” said LHT executive board chairman Johannes Bussmann. “Just like with the classic engine option, Lufthansa Technik will soon be able to repair A320neo line replaceable units in-house, including the engines.”

Tim White, UTAS president, electric, and environmental & engine systems, called the deal “a great opportunity for two companies to leverage each other’s knowledge, expertise and technology and work together to develop improved solutions that enhance the overall customer experience.”

Such deals are part of the growing trend of major suppliers teaming with MRO providers to broaden service offerings, gain access to more customers, and, increasingly, strengthen their positions against Airbus and Boeing, which are both creeping into the aftermarket space. In this agreement, LHT gains access to UTAS parts and repair data. In exchange, UTAS has one of the top MRO providers developing cost-effective repairs that it can use in its own shops.

The deal also extends the cooperation between the two large suppliers of new parts and aftermarket services. In 2017, LHT chose UTAS’s Aircraft Interface Device as part of an evaluation for sister company Lufthansa German Airlines, which is installing the units on its A320s. UTAS’s Aerostructures business also has a deal with LHT that supports the MRO provider’s Airbus A350 nacelle repair services. The companies have had aftermarket-support agreements in place for 787 components since 2011. LHT also is an official partner in Pratt’s PW1100G-JM overhaul network.