Friday, October 31, 2014

Slovak Defence Ministry signs contract for two C-27J Spartans

Yesterday, Alenia Aermacchi and the Slovak Defence Ministry have signed a contract for the supply of two C-27J Spartan aircraft including the relative initial logistic support and the training of pilots and maintenance personnel. (Source: Alenia Aermacchi, 30-Oct-2014)

Thursday, October 30, 2014

TM/DCA: Malta Aircraft Register update

Transport Malta/Directorate of Civil Aviation published today the latest update of the Maltese Aircraft Register.

New addition/s: none

  • 9H-AEC - Tecnam P92-J (c/n. 008), registered to Falcon Aviation Co. Ltd.
View the complete Malta Aircraft Register

(Source: Transport Malta, 30-Oct-2014)

French Navy FS Alize in Valletta Port

The French Navy diving support ship FS Alize (A 645) has sailed in Valletta Port this morning on a courtesy visit.

FS Alize is presently berthing alongside at Boiler wharf, and she's expected to sail from Malta on Monday, November 3rd. (30-Oct-2014)

Mexico signs contract for two additional Airbus C-295s

Mexico has signed a contract with Airbus Defence and Space for the acquisition of two additional Airbus C2-95 medium transport aircraft for the Mexican Navy. The agreement takes to 22 aircraft the total Airbus Defence and Space fleet in operation in the country, the biggest in Latin America. (Source: Airbus Defence and Space, 29-Oct-2014)

Air Malta halves its yearly loss to €16 million

Air Malta halved its losses during the financial year ending March 2014 and is projecting to maintain its position for the year ending March 2015, despite several major setbacks such as the closure of the Libyan routes and increased competition in the peak summer months.

Audited figures announced during the Air Malta Annual General Meeting showed that the airline posted a loss of €16 million (US$20.3 million) for the year ending at the end of March 2014, compared to €31 million (US$39.4 million) loss registered during the financial year ending at the end of March 2013.

The numbers show that Air Malta is moving in the right direction according to its Restructuring Plan, although it did not manage to reach the more ambitious annual targets of a €15 million loss in 2013 and a profit in 2014.

Air Malta chairperson M.a Micallef said the current financial year had been directly hit by the closure of the Libyan routes (losing the airline around €1 million per month, including incremental revenue from transit business) and a 20% increase in seat capacity of other airlines in the peak months.

“We were informed that our revenues would be hit by 10% and the bottom line was forecasted to be a loss of €25 million, unless immediate preventive actions were taken. We set ourselves a target that under these circumstances we try and target a bottom line of a loss of €16 million for Year ending March 2015,” said Ms Micallef, who was appointed chairperson in July.

Ms Micallef also highlighted the importance of thinking about the long term strategy of Air Malta, beyond the restructuring plan.

“In the longer term, it remains clear to me that the realities of the industry are such that the airline’s profit margins will always remain wafer thin unless we rethink our business model to truly ensure viability. We need to get out of restructuring mode and start thinking of long-term sustainability beyond 2016. We will need the economies of scale that we can never achieve with our size,” she said.

“If we are to make this work – and I am confident we will – we need everyone’s support. In some cases, this means holding back. That is my message to politicians, both Government and Opposition. The same applies to all the representatives of the various stakeholders, who for the first time have been invited to this AGM.”

“The reality is that this is Air Malta’s last chance for long term survival. We have 17 months left to get this right,” she concluded.

Meanwhile, newly-appointed CEO Philip Micallef outlined his vision for the airline and highlighted a number of initiatives being taken to bring the airline to profitability by 2016.

“One of the key missions of this new management team is to work much more closely with Malta Tourism Authority and other key stakeholders. MTA and Air Malta have a joint responsibility to attract tourism to the Maltese islands. In the past, the two entities complemented each other’s work but did not combine their resources as effectively as they could. We are holding joint meetings with tourism operators in various markets as Air Malta seeks to intensify its presence in foreign markets. We have entered into a new era of positive collaboration,” he said.

Similar joint initiatives are happening with Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association (MHRA) and Federated Association of Travel & Tourism Agents (FATTA).

“Our approach has been particularly successful with German tour operators, where committed seats have increased by 300% in winter 2014/15. Similar encouraging results are already being achieved on our Amsterdam and Brussels routes. Our code-share with Air France is doing even better, with a ten-fold increase in passenger revenue,” Mr Micallef told the AGM.

“At the end of summer we launched an aggressive promotion with a 25% discount, for travel from November 2014, to get early bookings for winter. In aggregate, early bookings for winter strongly indicate that we could start to mitigate the losses in passengers from Libya and slow-down in Russia through increased sales on other routes,” he said.

Mr Micallef said Air Malta now needed to improve its IT systems to facilitate customer experience and increase revenue by providing a more attractive pricing system for passengers.

“In the face of increased supply on some of our core routes during the peak summer months, we must respond by taking advantage of additional revenue streams. We are starting with generating ancillary revenue pre-flight through product enhancements and the right technology to promote the sale of these products. We are also looking at developing ancillary products while on board,” he said.

(Source: AirMalta, 28-Oct-2014)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

VLM Airlines signs LOI with IFC to lease two SSJ-100LRs, plus two options

Belgian operator VLM Airlines and aircraft lessor Ilyushin Finance Co. (IFC) have today signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) that will see the airline become the first European operator of the SSJ-100LR regional aircraft. 

VLM Airlines has selected the SSJ-100LR to spearhead the company’s launch of regional scheduled services in 2015, with details of its route network to be announced. 

Under the terms of the LOI, VLM Airlines will take delivery of two SSJ-100LR aircraft in April 2015 under a 12-year operating lease, with options for two further aircraft. The deal also includes purchase rights for ten aircraft. (Source:, 29-Oct-2014)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Brazil's MoD signs contract for 36 Gripen NGs

Defence and security company Saab has signed a contract with the Brazilian Federal Government (Ministry of Defense through the Aeronautics Command, COMAER) covering the development and production of 36 Gripen NG fighter aircraft for the Brazilian Air Force. The total order value is approximately SEK 39.3 billion. Saab and COMAER have also signed an Industrial Co-operation contract to deliver substantial technology transfer from Saab to Brazilian industry. (Source: Saab, 27-Oct-2014)

Sunday, October 26, 2014

USN commissions submarine USS North Dakota

USS North Dakota (SSN 784) officially became the U.S. Navy's newest addition to the submarine force following a commissioning ceremony held Oct. 25th, at Naval Submarine Base New London. North Dakota is the 11th Virginia-class attack submarine to join the fleet, and the first of eight Block III Virginia-class submarines to be built. The Block III submarines are being built with new Virginia Payload Tubes designed to lower costs and increase missile-firing payload possibilities. (Source: U.S. Navy, 25-Oct-2014)

Great Wall B744 lands at Shanghai with the right main gear up not fully extended

A Great Wall Airlines Boeing 747-400 (B-2433) performing flight CK-262 from Taipei (Taiwan) to Shanghai Pudong (China) on behalf of China Cargo Airlines, was on approach to Shanghai's Pudong airport RWY 16 when the crew did not receive indication that all gear had extended, the right main gear did not reach its fully extended and locked position. 

The crew aborted the approach and performed the related checklists including using the alternate gear extension without success. The aircraft subsequently was forced to perform a partial gear up landing on RWY 16 and came to a stop with the aircraft resting on its left main, both body gear and both right hand engine pods with the nose up (neither nose gear nor tail touching the runway). (Source:, 24-Oct-2014)

Friday, October 24, 2014

Aegean Airlines to start Athens-Malta flights next year

Greek private airline Aegean Airlines is to start flights to Malta IAP in the summer season next year from its hub at Athens IAP. The airline said it intends to initially operate to Malta on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays in the afternoon. It eventually plans to add another flight on Sunday (Source:, 24-Oct-2014)

Al-Naser Airlines wet-leases an A346 from Hi Fly Malta

Iraq's Al-Naser Airlines has taken delivery of its maiden A340-600 9H-TEQ (cn 416), formerly with Virgin Atlantic as G-VOGE. The quadjet, which was ferried from Malta to Baghdad on Oct. 18th, is on wet-lease from Hi Fly subsidiary, Hi Fly Malta, which in turn sourced it from Voltrex Leasing.

According to a statement issued to ch-aviation by Hi Fly Malta, the lease agreement is only temporary as its long term plans for the aircraft involve its reconfiguration into a 475-seater to be used for Hajj operations. 

"Until reconfiguration Supplemental Type Certificate is approved, which might take up to one year, Hi Fly is subleasing the aircraft to Al-Naser in current configuration with crew and maintenance support to supplement their current fleet of A346s that are planned to be operated for Iraqi Airways," it said. (Source:, 24-Oct-2014)

Kunming Airlines commits for ten Boeing 737s

Boeing is pleased that Kunming Airlines has committed to purchase ten  737s, including four Next-Generation 737-700s and six 737 MAX airplanes. The commitment, valued at US$897 million at current list prices, is subject to the approval of the Chinese government and will be posted on Boeing's Orders & Deliveries website once all contingencies are cleared. (Source: Boeing, 23-Oct-2014)

Airbus D&S receives contract for 17 UH-72As for U.S. Army

Airbus Defense and Space was awarded an US$82.9 million modification (P00852) to contract W58RGZ-06-C-0194 to acquire 17 UH-72A Lakota helicopters with airborne radio communications 231 radios. Estimated completion date is Jan. 31st, 2016. U.S.Army Contracting Command is the contracting activity. (Source: U.S. Department of Defense, 22-Oct-2014)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Royal Thai Navy and Air Force order five EC-645 T2s and two EC-725s

The airborne capabilities of Thailand’s navy and air force will be significantly enhanced with the acquisition of two mission-ready Airbus Helicopters rotorcraft types. The Royal Thai Navy signed for five EC-645 T2s to be deployed on transport duties and other missions, with deliveries scheduled to begin in 2016. The Royal Thai Air Force’s has signed for two addititonal EC-725 for SAR/CSAR missions. These two additional aircraft will be delivered in 2017, joining the four previously-ordered EC725s booked in 2012 for deliveries from 2015. (Source: Airbus Helicopters, 22-Oct-2014)

Hellenic Navy submarine Okeanos launched

The launching ceremony of the modernised submarine Okeanos of the Hellenic Navy took place at the premises of the Hellenic Shipyards S.A in Skaramangas and was officiated by his beatitude Metropolitan of Nikaia Mr. Alexios. The ceremony was attended by the President of the Hellenic Republic K. Papoulias and other government and military dignitaries. (Source:, 22-Oct-2014)

EVA Air to lease two B77Ws from BOC Aviation

Taiwan's EVA Air will lease two Boeing B777-300(ER)s from Singaporean lessor, BOC Aviation, with delivery of the aircraft scheduled for early 2017. The carrier currently operates eighteen of the type on its longhaul intercontinental network. (Source:, 22-Oct-2014)

Lufthansa CityLine to sell twelve CRJ700s to Regional One

Lufthansa CityLine has entered into an agreement to sell, over a twelve to fifteen month period, twelve of its CRJ-700 aircraft to Regional One, a Miami-based purchaser, lessor and seller of aircraft, parts, engines and engine parts. "The aircraft will be used in a variety of revenue streams which include aircraft sale, aircraft lease, engine sale/lease, component sale and exchange agreements," Regional One said in a press communique. (Source:, 22-Oct-2014)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Embraer rolls out KC-390 military airlift

Today Embraer rolled out the first prototype of the KC-390 military transport from the production hangar at the industrial plant of Gaviao Peixoto, Brazil. The event was attended by the Brazilian Minister of Defense, C. Amorim, the Commander of the Brazilian Air Force, Lieutenant-Brigadier General J. Saito, and delegations and representatives from more than 30 countries. This milestone roll-out will allow the company to perform important ground tests prior to the aircraft’s first flight, planned to take place by the end of this year. (Source: Embraer, 21-Oct-2014)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Russian Navy RFS Sibiryakov in Valletta Port

The Russian Navy Project 865 (Sibiryakov-class) hydrographic survey ship RFS Sibiryakov (СИБИРЯКОВ) has sailed into Valletta Port (the Grand Harbour) this morning on a courtesy visit.

The Russian survey ship is presently berthing alongside at Deep Water Quay-3 wharf, and she's expected to sail from Malta this Saturday, Oct. 25th. (21-Oct-2014)

Royal Navy of Oman full-rigged ship RNOV Shabab Oman II in Valletta Port

The Royal Navy of Oman full-rigged ship RNOV Shabab Oman II has sailed into Valletta Port (the Grand Harbour) this morning on a courtesy visit.

Royal Navy of Oman has taken delivery of RNOV Shabab Oman on Sep. 12, 2004, during a ceremony at Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding in Vlissingen, the Netherlands.

RNOV Shabab Oman II was designed by Dykstra Naval Architects, Amsterdam. Her keel was laid in Mar. 2013. She was built by Damen Shipyards, Galtati, Romania and launched on Dec. 2nd, 2013. In Jan. 2014, she was towed to Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding (in Vlissingen) for fitting out, including the fitting of her masts.

RNOV Shabab Oman II will also serve as the training for the Royal Navy of Oman, having replaced the previous sail training ship of the same name (RNOV Shabab Oman, built in 1977).

THe Royal Navy of Oman sail training ship is presently berthing alongside at Boiler wharf (in the French creek), and she's expected to sail for Malta this Thursday, Oct. 23rd (21-Oct-2014)

Two USAF F-16s collide in mid-air southwest of Howard, Kansas

Two U.S. Air Force F-16s from the Oklahoma Air National Guard flying a training exercise out of Tulsa collided in mid-air this afternoon over southern Kansas, causing one of the pilots to eject from the aircraft. Oklahoma National Guard spokesman Col. M. Moss says neither pilot was seriously injured in the collision southwest of Howard, Kan.

Moss says the pilot of one jet was able to return to Tulsa International Airport and landed safely. That aircraft was met on the tarmac by several fire and rescue vehicles. The jets are assigned to the 138th Fighter Wing based at the airport. (Source:, 20-Oct-2014)

Monday, October 20, 2014

TM/DCA: Malta Aircraft Register update

Transport Malta/Directorate of Civil Aviation published today the latest update of the Maltese Aircraft Register.

New addition/s:
  • 9H-SMB - Bombardier BD-700-1A10 Global 6000 (c/n. 9549), registered to Albinati Aviation Ltd. (ex M-MBAL)
Cancellation/s: none

(Source: Transport Malta, 20-Oct-2014)

Lockheed Martin led industry team launches the USN's seventh LCS, Detroit

The Lockheed Martin led industry team launched the nation's seventh littoral combat ship (LCS), Detroit, into the Menominee River at Marinette Marine Corp. The ship's sponsor, Mrs. B. Levin, christened Detroit with the traditional smashing of a champagne bottle across the ship's bow just prior to the launch. (Source: Lockheed Martin, 18-Oct-2014)

Saturday, October 18, 2014

MHI and Mitsubishi Aircraft host MRJ roll-out ceremony

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) and Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation held a roll-out ceremony today for the MRJ (Mitsubishi Regional Jet), a next-generation regional jet, at the Komaki Minami Plant of MHI's Nagoya Aerospace Systems Works in Aichi Prefecture. After unveiling Japan's first jet aircraft, MHI and Mitsubishi Aircraft are now ready to proceed toward the MRJ's first flight scheduled for the April-June quarter of 2015. (Source: Mitsubishi Regional Jet, 18-Oct-2014)

Ryanair B738 returns to Malta IAP after reporting a problem with the nose gear

A Ryanair Boeing B737-800 (EI-EPC), performing flight FR-6696 from Malta IAP to Edinburgh (U.K.) had to return back to Malta IAP yesterday evening after reporting a problem with the nose gear. The aircraft departed from RWY 13 at 1955lt, levelled off at 8000 feet to troubleshoot the problem and then to dump fuel, and re-landed safely RWY 13 at 2137lt. The stranded passengers where later trasferred to one of Ryanair's Malta-based B738s (EI-EVN) to operate the flight to Edinburgh. It departed Malta IAP at 0029lt (on 18th).