Friday, December 19, 2014

Air Malta to charge economy passengers for hot snacks, beverages as from Jan. 1st

Hot snacks and beverages for Air Malta’s economy passengers will be against payment as from Jan. 1st, the airline said. In a statement this morning, Air Malta said that following an agreement with its catering supplier SkyGourmet, club class passengers will benefit from an upgraded in-flight menu while economy passengers will be offered a baguette and half a litre of water on all routes.

While the baguette and water will be free of charge, "a wide selection of good quality food items, including hot, will be available for purchase from cabin staff at a nominal fee in the near future". Chairwoman M. Micallef said the agreement will save the airline some €4 million each year. Air Malta said it was also reviewing other contracts in the various areas of its operation to achieve further cost savings whilst ensuring a better customer experience. (Source:, 19-Dec-2014)

AFM receives second AW-139 twin-engine helicopter

The Armed Forces of Malta’s (AFM) second AW-139 twin-engine helicopter landed at Luqa this afternoon. The helicopter, which is to be registered AS1429, will be used to perform border control tasks and SAR missions. Together with the AFM’s first twin-engine helicopter, it will help strengthen the AFM’s capabilities through the External Borders Fund 2007-2013. 

The AW139 has a maximum speed of 193 mph, a range of almost 600 miles, and service ceiling of 20,000 feet. It is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment package for maritime patrol and SAR missions that includes a high-definition FLIR system, search/weather radar, cabin mission console, naval transponder, search light, satellite communication system, a four-axis autopilot with SAR modes, external rescue hoist and four bag floatation system. This state of the art intermediate twin-engine helicopter features the largest cabin in its category for greater mission flexibility and comfort. (Source:

Germany takes delivery of its first A400M

Airbus Defence and Space has formally delivered the first Airbus A400M military transport ordered by Germany.The Bundeswehr accepted the aircraft at the A400M Final Assembly Line in Seville, Spain on Dec. 18th. The A400M will replace the C-160 Transall. (Source: Airbus Defence and Space, 18-Dec-2014)

Hawaiian Airlines finalizes A330-800neo order

Following a Memorandum of Understanding signed in July of this year, Hawaiian Airlines has finalized an order for six A330-800neo aircraft. The agreement adds yet another name to the growing list of launch customers for the new aircraft type. The new commitment replaces a previous order placed by Hawaiian for six A350-800s. (Source: Airbus, 18-Dec-2014)

Etihad Airways receives first A380

At a ceremony in Abu Dhabi, Etihad Airways, one of the world’s leading airlines, welcomed the first of its ten new Airbus A380 aircraft (A6-APA). Etihad Airways is the thirteenth airline to operate the A380, and the aircraft is the 150th A380 delivered by Airbus. (Source: Airbus, 18-Dec-2014)

BOC finalizes order for two additional B738s

Boeing and BOC Aviation have finalized an order for two additional 737-800s, valued at US$186 million at current list prices. The order is a part of the Singapore-based leasing company's effort to grow its portfolio of fuel-efficient airplanes. (Source: Boeing, 18-Dec-2014)

Avianca takes delivery of its first 787 Dreamliner

Boeing and Avianca celebrated the delivery of the first 787 Dreamliner for the Latin American carrier, helping the airline stay at the forefront of technology in the region. Avianca's Boeing 787-8 will carry 28 passengers in business class and 222 in economy class. Passengers in both classes will also experience cabin environment improvements made possible on the 787 such as dynamic LED lighting, the largest windows, bigger overhead bins, a lower cabin altitude, a more humid environment, low interior noise, cleaner air and a smoother ride. (Source: Boeing, 18-Dec-2014)

Royal Jordanian B788 diverts to London-Heathrow due to engine problem

A Royal Jordanian Boeing 787-800 (JY-BAE), performing flight RJ-264 (Dec. 16th) from Chicago O'Hare (USA) to Amman (Jordan), was enroute at FL390 already in German Airspace about 40-nm WNW of Dortmund (Germany) when the crew reported an engine (GEnx) problem, turned around maintaining FL390 and diverted to London-Heathrow (UK) for a safe landing about 80-mins later. After receiving maintenance the aircraft was able to depart Heathrow after about three hours on the ground and reached Amman with a delay of 5:15 hours. (Source:, 18-Dec-2014)

United B764 returns to London-Heathrow after the cabin did not pressurize

A United Airlines Boeing 767-400 (N59053), performing flight UA-28 (on Dec. 17th) from London-Heathrow (UK) to Newark (USA) with 227 passengers and 13 crew, was climbing out of London-Heathrow when the crew stopped the climb at FL100 due to the cabin not pressurizing. The aircraft entered a hold to troubleshoot, then burn off and dump fuel before returning to Heathrow for a safe landing on RWY27L about 4:45 hours after departure. (Source:, 18-Dec-2014)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

EC bans all Libyan carriers from European airspace

Afriqiyah Airways along with Libyan Airlines and all other Libyan carriers have been collectively banned from operating in European airspace after the European Commission ruled that the Libyan Civil Aviation Authority could no longer fulfil its mandate as a regulatory body in line with international requirements.

“Recent events in Libya have led to a situation whereby the Civil Aviation Authority is no longer able to fulfil its international obligations with regard to the safety of the Libyan aviation sector. My priority in aviation is passenger safety, which is non-negotiable, and we stand ready to help the Libyan aviation sector as soon as the situation on the ground will allow for this," V. Bulc, E.U. Commissioner for Transport, said. (Source:, 16-Dec-2014)

Northrop Grumman receives contract for four RQ-4Bs for the Rep. of Korea

Northrop Grumman has been awarded a US$657 million hybrid contract for aircraft for the Republic of Korea. Contractor will provide four RQ-4B Block 30 Global Hawk air vehicles, two spare engines, and the applicable Ground Control Environment elements. Each will contain an Enhanced Integrated Sensor Suite. Work is expected to be complete by Jun. 28th, 2019. This contract involves foreign military sales. This award is the result of a sole-source acquisition. U.S. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity. (Source: U.S. Department of Defense, 16-Dec-2014) 

Delta B763 diverts to Billings due to an electrical odour on board

A Delta Air Lines Boeing 767-300 (N177DN), performing flight DL-32 (dep Dec. 15th) from Seattle (USA) to Paris-Charles de Gaulle (France) with 203 passengers and ten crew, was enroute at FL330 about 170-nm northnortheast of Billings (USA) when the crew decided to divert to Billings due to an electrical odour on board. The aircraft landed safely on Billings' RWY 10L about 35-mins later, attending emergency services found no trace of fire, smoke or heat. (Source:, 16-Dec-2014)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Sikorsky Aircraft receives contract for five UH-60Ms for the Mexican Navy

Sikorsky Aircraft was awarded a US$56,394,775 modification (P00217) to contract W58RGZ-12-C-0008 to exercise an option for five UH-60M aircraft for foreign military sales case MX-B-UEU, Mexican Navy. Estimated completion date is May 30, 2016. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity. (Source: U.S. Department of Defense, 15-Dec-2014)

AirAsia X places firm order for 55 A330neo

AirAsia X has placed a firm order with Airbus for 55 A330neo aircraft. This is the largest single order to date for the best-selling A330 Family and reaffirms AirAsia X's position as the biggest A330 airline customer worldwide, having now ordered a total of 91 aircraft. The announcement covers the firming up of a memorandum of understanding for 50 A330neo signed during the Farnborough Air Show in Julu 2014, plus an additional five aircraft. Deliveries of the newly-ordered aircraft will begin in 2018. (Source: Airbus, 15-Dec-2014)

Jetlines signs order for up to 21 Boeing 737 MAX 7s

Boeing and Jetlines today announced an order for five 737 MAX 7s as the new Canadian ultra-low carrier builds its future fleet. The order, valued at US$438 million at current list prices, includes purchase rights for an additional 16 737 MAXs. (Source: Boeing, 15-Dec-2014)

Air France B744 diverts to Shannon due to cargo smoke indication

An Air France Boeing B747-400 (F-GITE), performing flight AF-733 from Santo Domingo (Domenican Republic) to Paris-Charles de Gaulle (France) with 142 passengers and 14 crew, was an en route at FL390 over the Atlantic Ocean about 400-NM southwest of Shannon when the crew received a forward cargo smoke indication and decided to divert to Shannon (Ireland). The crew instructed emergency services to not open the forward cargo door before all passengers has left the aircraft. The aircraft landed safely on RWY 24 about 70-mins after the emergency call and taxied to the apron with emergency services following the aircraft. Emergency services did not find any trace of fire, smoke or heat. (Source:, 14-Dec-2014)

Fincantieri's Riva Trigoso SY launches fifth FREMM vessel for the Italian Navy

Today the Riva Trigoso (Genoa) shipyard celebrated the launch of the frigate Alpino, the fifth of a series of ten FREMM vessels ordered from Fincantieri by the Italian Navy within the framework of an Italo-French program of cooperation. Godmother to the ship was Ms. M. Rosa Solimano, cousin of Francesco Solimano awarded with Gold Medal of Military Valor. Alpino is due for delivery to the Italian Navy in early 2016. (Source: Fincantieri, 13-Dec-2014)

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Sri Lankan AF AN-32 crashes while on approach to Colombo airport in Ratmalana

A Sri Lankan Air Force Antonov AN-32 (SCM-864) impacted wooded terrain in Hokandara while on approach to the Colombo airport in Ratmalana. The aircraft was partially consumed by the post-impact fire and four of the five occupants onboard received fatal injuries. One occupant onboard the airplane was seriously injured. Weather may have been a factor in the accident. Photos from the scene of the crash suggest that the airpane contacted the roof of a building before crashint in a rubber estate, about 9,5-km to the northeast of the Ratmalana airport. (Source:, 12-Dec-2014)

Landespolizei Nordrhein-Westfalen orders six EC-145 T2

Six EC-145 T2 rotorcraft have been ordered by Germany’s Landespolizei Nordrhein-Westfalen (North Rhine-Westphalia Police Force), becoming the latest law enforcement customer for this enhanced member of Airbus Helicopters' twin-engine EC-145 family. Deliveries of these helicopters are planned in 2016-2017. (Source: Airbus Helicopters, 12-Dec-2014)

Lufthansa A343 returns to Frankfurt due to cabin pressure problems

A Lufthansa Airbus A340-300 (D-AIGY)  performing flight LH-598 (on Dec. 10th) from Frankfurt/Main (Germany) to Jeddah (Saudi Arabia), was climbing out of Frankfurt when the crew stopped the climb at FL200 due to problems with the cabin pressure. After about 10-mins, while continuing in the general direction of destination, the crew descended the aircraft to FL110 for the return to Frankfurt and dumped fuel. The aircraft landed safely back in Frankfurt about 90-mins after departure. (Source:, 12-Dec-2014)

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Icelandic Coast Guard Tyr in Valletta Port

The Icelandic Coast Guard Aegir-class offshore-patrol vessel Tyr has sailed into Valletta Port (the Grand Harbour) this morning on a courtesy visit. 

The Icelandic OPV is presently berthing alongside at Pinto-4 wharf, and she's expected to sail from Malta on Sunday, December 14th. (11-Dec-2014)

French AF Alpha Jet trainer crashes near Rochecorbon

A French Air Force Alpha Jet trainer from Tours-Saint-Symphorien Air Base (BA 705)  crashed around 1745lt near Rochecorbon, at Vouvray, France. Both crew members ejected safely. The trainer came down on a building, killing one and injuring six people on the ground. (Source:, 10-Dec-2014)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Ryanair B738 en route to Malta diverts to Trapani due to bad weather

A Ryanair Boeing B737-800 (EI-DCM), performing flight FR-5382 from Madrid-Barajas (Spain) to Malta IAP, had to divert to Trapani-Birgi (Siciliy) this morning due to bad weather at Malta International Airport. The flight then continued to Malta landing with a delay of nearly three hours. (10-Dec-2013)

Thailand to acquire three SSJ-100 for royal family

Sukhoi Civil Aircraft has won a tender from the Royal Thai Air Force for the supply of three SSJ 100-95s in VIP configuration. Russian trade representative to Thailand O. Maslennikov told the TASS newswire that the aircraft will be used by the Thai Royal family with requisite contracts having already been signed. The first of the twinjets is scheduled to be delivered in late 2016. (Source:, 9-Dec-2014)

Aer Lingus A333 returns to Dublin due an engine problem

An Aer Lingus Airbus A330-300 (EI-ELA) performing flight EI-121 from Dublin (Ireland) to Orlando (USA) with 137 passengers and ten crew, was enroute at FL330 about 150nm west of Keflavik (Iceland) when the crew decided to return to Dublin reporting they had a technical problem with the aircraft. After receiving clearance back to Dublin the crew reported they had an engine #2 (CF6, right hand) system control fault, the engine was "hunting a little bit". The aircraft landed safely back on Dublin's RWY 28 about 2:10 hours later. (Source:, 9-Dec-2014)