Author Archives: MS

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Trans States Airlines Will Shut Down By The End Of 2020


CEO cites pilot shortage as one of the airline’s problems.

The 350 pilots and other employees of St. Louis-based Trans States Airlines have been on the edge of their seats following announcements last year, such as the cancellation of the company’s order for 50 Mitsubishi regional jets because of scope-clause concerns, or that sister company Compass Airlines last year lost a major contract for flying with Delta Airlines. However, they were probably not prepared for Monday’s employee letter from Trans States Holding CEO Rick Leach. In that document, from February 24, obtained by Flying, Leach announced that Trans States Airlines flying “…will be concluded by the end of 2020.” Trans States Holding also operates Compass and GoJet Airlines.

Leach cited, among other concerns, the regional segment’s razor-thin profit margins and, specifically, Trans States Airlines inability to attract enough pilots to staff its aircraft—in particular, enough captains to balance out the current first officer ranks. Earlier in February, the company cancelled a new-hire first officer class that was already in progress as well as delaying others. The pilot shortage has prevented Trans States from utilizing its Embraer 145 regional jet fleet as much as it needs to in order to remain profitable. ExpressJet Airlines is expected to absorb the EMB-145 fleet from Trans States, although it is unclear how that carrier will hire enough pilots to staff the new aircraft. In any case, the future for the pilot

population at Trans States will change day by day.

A former Compass Airlines pilot said he doubted many Trans States pilots would end up at Compass, although “there are a lot of rumors but nothing specific.” In an email, the pilot said, “When Compass lost the Delta contract, they lost 3/4 of their flying, so they are already over staffed and losing more flying as the year goes on. I don’t see how they can bring anyone on.”

Louis Smith, a retired DC-10 captain and president of Future and Active Pilot Advisors (FAPA) told Flying, “I think it will be five days or more before the two ALPA groups reach an agreement. Trans States’ pilots may need incentives to cooperate with their management to provide an orderly transition of aircraft and flying over to ExpressJet. The incentives [to keep Trans States pilots] could be retention bonuses in combination with a structured process for pilots to move with the aircraft. It’s uncertain whether the Trans States pilots would receive any ‘labor equity’ as part of the transition.”

The Air Line Pilots Association’s Master Executive Council for Trans States said yesterday in an email to Flying that, “We are disappointed in the news that Trans States will be winding down its operation by the end of 2020. Since learning about the ceasing of operations, ALPA has been working on creating ways to help mitigate the direct impact this will have on pilots and will be meeting with management soon to discuss next steps. In addition, ALPA pilots at ExpressJet have been working on plans that will provide protections to Trans States pilot who choose to transition.”

Source: Flying

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Robinson Sees Softening, Then Rebound in Sales


While 2019 sales went down, 2020 is off to a strong start.

Despite steady sales in the last part of 2019 and into 2020, total deliveries at Robinson Helicopter Company fell to 196 units for the year. This is a decline from 2018 and 2017 sales, which showed strong growth in 2017 and remained there for 2018.

The breakdown of models included 19 R22s, 123 R44s, and 54 R66s. In 2017, Robinson sold a total of 305 aircraft, including 174 of the R44 alone. In 2018, that total ticked up slightly, at 316—including 33 R22s, 209 R44s, and 74 R66s. The company nears the mark of 13,000 units sold.

The decline in 2019 was noted by Kurt Robinson as being across the board worldwide. Robinson, president and CEO of the company since 2010, recently hosted Flying for a visit, which will be featured in an upcoming issue of the magazine. The company expresses optimism for 2020, as a “strong start” in sales has marked the beginning of the year, according to Robinson spokesperson Loretta Conley.

The company recently delivered two of its Electric News Gathering (ENG) models into key media markets in the United States—one R66 Newscopter and one R44 Newscopter via Sky Helicopters in Garland, Texas. The R66 will serve WTTG Fox, WUSA CBS, and WJLA ABC in the Washington, D.C. area, and the R44 will fly in support of WTVT Fox and WFTS ABS in Tampa, Florida. The platforms feature ENG cameras and broadcast equipment, and allow for the operators to work with several media outlets at the same time. To date, Robinson has delivered 80 ENG platforms in worldwide, including Brazil, Australia, and Canada.

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Losses Increase for Embraer as EU Halts Boeing Deal Review


The Brazilian company reports $77M net loss in earnings call.

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Textron Aviation’s Flagship Longitude Receives FAA Type Certification


The Longitude received the most robust testing of a Cessna Citation to date.

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Carlyle Group completes €1 billion purchase of aerospace manufacturing firm


Global investment firm The Carlyle Group has completed the acquisition of Forgital, for approximately €1 billion.

Forgital is an Italian-based manufacturing company producing large forged and machined components for use in the aerospace and industrial sector.

Equity for the transaction will come from Carlyle Europe Partners V, a European-focused upper-mid market buyout fund and Carlyle Partners VII, a US-focused buyout fund.

Established in 1873 with headquarters in Vicenza, Italy, Forgital is a specialist manufacturer of machine-finished forged and laminated rolled rings, made from several different materials, including steel, aluminium, titanium and nickel-based alloys used in several applications across many industries.

Forgital employs over 1,100 people across nine facilities in Italy, France and United States and through its dedicated global salesforce.

Source: AE

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Boeing signs near $1 billion contract with US Air Force


Boeing has signed a new contract with the US Air Force (USAF) worth $999 million to maintain A-10 Thunderbolt II sustainment work under an Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract award.

The contract will cover the production of a maximum of 112 wing sets and spare kits.

The USAF ordered 27 wing sets immediately at contract award.

“Boeing is honored to be selected to continue as the A-10 Thunderbolt II wing kit contractor,” said Pam Valdez, vice president of Air Force Services for Boeing Global Services. “Our established supply base, experience with the A-10 structures, and our in-depth knowledge of the U.S. Air Force’s requirements will help us deliver high-quality wings to meet the customer’s critical need.”

Boeing will team with Korean Aerospace Industries and other key suppliers to deliver the first wing sets to Hill Air Force Base in Ogden, Utah.

Under a previous contract, Boeing delivered 173 enhanced wing assemblies.

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Gulfstream Delivers First G600


The initial U.S. customer delivery marks a milestone for the jet.

Gulfstream Aerospace delivered its first G600 business jet to a U.S. customer from its facility in Savannah, Georgia, on August 8, 2019. The initial delivery marks an important milestone for the program, just one month after the FAA granted the aircraft’s type and production certification, on June 28.

Mark Burns, president of Gulfstream, called out this team effort dedicated to making the ambitious timeline in his remarks. “We always strive to exceed our customers’ expectations, and our first G600 delivery is a prime example of that,” said Burns in a company release. “The effort put forth by our team enabled this award-winning, technologically advanced aircraft to move from certified to delivered in an extremely short period of time.”

With the ability to travel at an average speed of Mach 0.90 from Paris to Los Angeles, in an award-winning interior, the Gulfstream G600 has already established itself as true top contender in both speed and luxury. In fact, it has notched more than 10 city-pair speed records. The aircraft logged more than 100,000 flight hours in company labs—more than half of that logged in the program before its first flight—and more than 3,200 hours in flight test prior to its entry into service.

Source : Flying

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Tamarack Aerospace Restarts the Clock on Warranties


Active winglet airplanes returned to flying status.

On July 10, the FAA approved an alternative method of compliance (AMOC) for all Active Winglet equipped Citation jets, which returned CJ1, CJ2, CJ3 and M2 aircraft to flying status. EASA regulators also recently resolved flight restriction issues in Europe created around the recent Emergency Airworthiness Directive (EAD) against Tamarack active winglet installations awaiting a final resolution to the EAD. The AMOC requires aircraft operators to comply with Service Bulletin 1480 prior to flight that calls for replacing or upgrading a small actuator on the trailing edge of the camber surface. Tamarack is providing the product improvements from SB 1480 free of charge to all customers.

Tamarack’s Atlas active winglets came under scrutiny following several upset incidents in which pilots struggled to maintain control of the aircraft. EASA issued its AD on April 19, stating, “Recently, occurrences have been reported in which Atlas appears to have malfunctioned, causing upset events where, in some cases, the pilots had difficulty to recover the aeroplane to safe flight.” In the United States, the FAA issued its corresponding AD on May 24. Company president Jacob Klinginsmith told Flying, “The company has sold three sets of active winglets in just the last month.”

On a topic related to the active winglets, Klinginsmith said reports of his products being investigated by the NTSB following a Citation accident last November in Memphis, Indiana, are not accurate. “Our active winglets are not a focus of the investigation. The upset that caused authorities to look at Tamarack Aerospace winglets took place in April 2019,” fully six months after the Indiana crash.

In order to show the company’s gratitude to customers caught by the grounding, Tamarack Aerospace is restarting the clock on Atlas equipment warranties, no matter when the aircraft was originally modified, providing an additional 24 months of coverage. Tamarack Aerospace filed for bankruptcy in early June.

Source: Flying

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British Airways facing record £183 million data break fine


British Airways is facing a record fine of £183 million in relation to last year’s breach of its security systems.

“We are surprised and disappointed in this initial finding from the ICO. British Airways responded quickly to a criminal act to steal customers’ data,” British Airways chairman and chief executive officer Alex Cruz, said.

“We have found no evidence of fraud/fraudulent activity on accounts linked to the theft.”

The proposed fine relates to a cyber incident notified to the ICO by British Airways in September 2018. This incident in part involved user traffic to the British Airways website being diverted to a fraudulent site.

Through this false site, customer details were harvested by the attackers. Personal data of approximately 500,000 customers were compromised in this incident, which is believed to have begun in June 2018.

The ICO said it was the biggest penalty it had ever handed out and the first to be made public under new rules.

BA has 28 days to appeal. Willie Walsh, chief executive of IAG, said British Airways would be making representations to the ICO.

“We intend to take all appropriate steps to defend the airline’s position vigorously, including making any necessary appeals,” he said.


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Garuda Indonesia shares tumble as regulator orders fixing of financial numbers


Indonesia’s financial regulator (OJK) and stock exchange has ordered Garuda Indonesia to “repair and restate” its annual accounts – this has in turn sent the airline’s shares tumbling 7.6%, its lowest level since January.

The news comes just weeks after its two biggest private shareholders alleged it had misrepresented a $240 million transaction.

OJK has ordered Garuda Indonesia to fix unspecified errors in its 2018 annual accounts and submit a corrected version within 14 days. It has subsequently fined each of the airline’s directors Rp100m ($7,083).

According to a report from Reuters, the companies published a letter saying they had taken issue with the way the airline had forward-booked earnings from a deal with a technology provider in October 2018, saying it should have shown an additional $240 million loss.

The allegations were denied at the time by the airline’s chief financial officer Fuad Rizal. Garuda posted $5.02 million net profit on $4.37 billion of revenues in its 2018 annual report.

This figure is now under scrutiny.