Friday, August 22, 2014

SAS completes sale/leaseback of four A333s with the Chinese bank Bocomm

Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) has secured financing of four A330-300 Enhanced through the signing of a sale and leaseback agreement with the Chinese bank Bocomm. The aircraft will be delivered during the latter part of 2015 and the beginning of 2016. The agreement means that SAS, at the time of delivery for respective aircraft, will sell the aircraft to Bocomm and then lease it back during a term of 12 years. The list price for four A330-300 Enhanced is approximately US$1bn. (Source: avitrader.com, 22-Aug-2014)

Island Air Transport DC4 nose gear collapses after hard landing at New Syra Beach airport

An Island Air Transport Douglas DC-4 (N9015Q), performing a charter freight flight (on Aug. 20th) to New Smyrna Beach (U.S.A.) with one crew, landed hard on New Syrna Beach Airport's RWY 11 at 1557lt (1957z), during roll out the nose gear collapsed causing the aircraft to slide to a stop on its nose and main gear. The aircraft came to a stop about 630m down RWY 1 blocking the intersecting runway 02/20 as well. There were no injuries, the aircraft sustained substantial damage. (Source: avherald.com, 21-Aug-2014)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Malta-based Air X adds two B735s to its fleet

Malta-based air charter company airX has added two 44-seat Boeing 737-500 aircraft to its fleet. They are configured for executive business charter for larger groups such as government delegations, football teams and bands, company chairman J.B. Matthews said today.

Speaking during the launch of the 2014 Malta International Airshow 2014, of which airX is the title sponsor, Mr Matthews  said the company had signed Southampton FC as a client for the B735s for the forthcoming football season. 

"airX is increasingly becoming the air charter operator of choice for more and more A-list celebrities and VIPs. At the last count, our famous passenger list totalled over 100 celebrities and VIPs," he said. (Source: timesofmalta.com, 21-Aug-2014)

A record 13 countries participating in the 2014 Malta International Airshow

This years' edition of the airX Malta International Airshow is set to be the biggest edition ever organised. This was announced by Mr. J. Ciliberti, President of the Malta Aviation Society organisers of the annual national event.

"The Maltese public will be treated to four aerobatic teams: the Italian Frecce Tricolori, the Spanish Patrulla Aguila, the Turkish team Turkish Stars and the Royal Air Force's Red Arrows. This, along with other flying displays such as a Swiss F-18, Belgian F-16, Czech L-159 ALCA, as well as the participation of a total 13 countries, will make this years edition of the Airshow the biggest one so far" stated Mr. Ciliberti.

This was announced during a press conference held earlier on today during which it was also announced that other countries might be added to the list of participants in the coming weeks. The airX Malta International Airshow, which will be held on the 27th and 28th of September 2014 is expected to attract thousands of aviation and photography enthusiasts. (Source: maltairshow.com, 21-Aug-2014)

Belgium confirms participation in 2014 Malta International Airshow

Malta welcomes back the Belgian Air Component F-16 Solo Display Team to the Malta International Airshow. In 2010 the Belgian F-16 display was one of the highlights of the show. The F-16 will not be the only Belgian participant as one of the Transport squadron Embraers based at Melsbroek will also feature in the static display at this year’s airshow. 

The F-16 solo display pilot is Senior Captain Avi Renaud "Grat" Thys and has told our President how much he is looking forward to be able to display his F-16 Fighting Falcon in Malta for his very first time. The Belgian F-16 Solo Display will be displaying on Saturday afternoon only after which it departs to Greece to take part in the Athens Flying Week. (Source: maltairshow, 21-Aug-2014)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Sikorsky receives contract for 12 UH-60s for Saudi Arabian National Guard

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. was awarded a US$30.4 million modification (P00072) to foreign military sales contract (Saudi Arabia) for 12 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters for the Saudi Arabian National Guard. Estimated completion date is Aug. 31st, 2017. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity. (Source: U.S. Department of Defence, 19-Aug-2014)

USAF grounds 82 F-16Ds after cracks were discovered

The US Air Force has grounded over half of its F-16D Fighting Falcons, the service's Air Combat Command announced today. The initial damage, described in a Pentagon release as "canopy sill longeron cracks found between the front and rear pilot seats," was discovered after a routine post-flight inspection on one of the jets. The discovery of cracks led to a fleet-wide inspection order. Of the 157 F-16Ds in the fleet, 82 were found to have cracks and have been ordered to stand down. The remaining 75 have been cleared to resume normal activities. The Air Force is working with Lockheed Martin engineers to discover the cause of the cracks and what repair options there are. (Source: defensenews.com, 19-Aug-2014)

Two Italian AF Tornado IDS collide in mid-air and crash in a wooden area near Ascoli

Two Italian military jets collided this afternoon, the country’s air force has confirmed. A pair of twin-engined Panavia Tornado IDS were "carrying out a training mission" when they collided and crashed, according to the air force's official Twitter account. Reports say the aircraft were in the vicinity of Ascoli, in eastern Italy. Both aircraft were crewed by pilots and navigators, but Italian authorities have not confirmed their fate. Rescue and reconnaissance aircraft were sent to the scene to conduct a search for the pilots, according to the air force. Images of the collision show that the aircraft exploded on impact, sparking a forest fire on a hillside below. Firefighting helicopters were also sent to the scene to attempt to contain the blaze. (Source: flightglobal.com, 19-Jul-2014)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Republic of Korean Navy ROKS Munmu the Great in Valletta Port

Republic of Korean Navy Chunmugong Yi Sun-sin-class destroyer ROKS Munmu the Great (976) has sailed into Valletta Port (the Grand Harbour) with evacuees from Libya.

ROKS Munmu the Great has a Westland Lynx Mk.99 on board, serial 90-0702.

The South Korean destroyer is presently berthing alongside at Pinto-4/5, and she's expected to sail from Malta on Tuesday, August 19th. (17-Aug-2014)

Friday, August 15, 2014

KLM signs lease deal with ALC for two more B77Ws

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has announced the signing of a long term lease agreement with the Air Lease Corporation (ALC) for two additional B777-300(ER)s, scheduled for delivery in the second half of 2016 and early 2017.  "These aircraft placements are in addition to the two new 777-300ER aircraft scheduled for lease from ALC to KLM in early 2015 and early 2016, all from ALC’s order book," ALC said in a statement. (Source: ch-aviation.com, 15-Aug-2014)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Jet 2 to operate Glasgow-Malta service from next summer

British low-cost airline Jet2 has announced it will operate a Malta-Glasgow service as from summer next year. The airline also announced new services from Glasgow to Prague, Cyprus and Antalya in Turkey. Jet2 is a subsidiary of the Dart Group PLC. It operates Boeing 737-800s and Boeing 757-200s. (Source: timesofmalta.com, 13-Aug-2014)

Surf Air orders 15 PC-12NGs, plus 50 options

Surf Air announced a total order of up to 65 new Pilatus aircraft (15 firm orders and 50 options) to be delivered over the next five years, with a total order value of approximately US$312m. With this order the company has formed an unprecedented exclusive partnership with Pilatus Aircraft whereby Surf Air will be the only membership-based operator to utilize the PC-12NG in the United States. (Source: avitrader.com, 13-Aug-2014)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Italy's Guardia Costiera confirms participation at 2014 Malta International Airshow

The Guardia Costiera Italiana officially known as The Italian Corps of the Port Captaincies and Italian Coast Guard to some of us, has confirmed that an AugustaWestland AW-139 helicopter shall participate in this year's edition of the airX Malta International Airshow with a static display. 

The AgustaWestland AW139 is a 15-seat medium sized twin-engined helicopter developed and produced principally by AgustaWestland. The Guardia Costiera AW139 role is that of Search and Rescue. The Italian Coast Guard has 4 Aw139's, with deliveries taking place between July 2010 and February 2011. (Source: maltairshow.com, 13-Aug-2014)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Air Malta secures its European AOC

Air Malta has announced it has secured its European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA)-sanctioned Air Operators Certificate (AOC) from the Maltese Civil Aviation Directorate of Transport. All European-based carriers are expected to have secured their respective EASA AOCs by Oct. 28th of this year.

"The extensive process for applying and obtaining regulatory approval involved a gap analysis between the current and new legislation. In order to comply with the new Regulations and transition to an EASA AOC, Air Malta was required to perform a thorough review of all policies and procedures," Air Malta said.

Among the certification's new measures is the introduction of a Safety Management System (SMS), which replaces the current Accident Prevention and Flight Safety Programme. The airline says it introduced SMS earlier this year in winter and in the process changed its safety processes and held appropriate SMS training for its entire workforce. (Source: ch-aviation.com, 12-Aug-2014)

U.K. MoD awards contract to build three new OPVs for the Royal Navy

More than 800 Scottish jobs have been protected thanks to a multi-million-pound contract to build three new offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) for the Royal Navy. 

The OPVs which will be used by the Royal Navy to undertake various tasks in support of U.K. interests both at home and abroad, will be built at BAE Systems' shipyards in Glasgow. 

Featuring a redesigned flight deck to operate the latest Merlin helicopters as well as increased storage and accommodation facilities, the OPVs build on the proven capability of the Royal Navy’s current River Class vessels. (Source: U.K. Ministry of Defence, 12-Aug-2014)

Monday, August 11, 2014

Sepahan Airlines A140 crashes shortly after take-off from Tehran-Mehrabad airport

A Sepahan Airlines Hesa IrAn-140-100 (EP-GPA),  performing flight SPN-5915 from Tehran-Mehrabad to Tabas (Iran) with 42 passengers and six crew, departed Tehran-Mehrabad's RWY 29L when the aircraft lost height and crashed into a residential area near the Liberty/Azadi Stadium about 1.6km northwest of the runway end at about 0918lt (0448z), the tail of the aircraft, the only still recognizable part, came to rest at approximate position N35.7074 E51.2850. 11 occuptants were taken to hospitals with serious injuries, 37 occupants died in the crash. There were no injuries or casualties on the ground. (Source: avherald.com 10-Aug-2014)

JetBlue A321 left-hand engine catches fire after rejecting take-off at high speed from San Juan's RWY 08

A JetBlue Airbus A321-200 (N903JB), performing flight B6-704 (on Aug. 9th) from San Juan (Puerto Rico) to New York JFK,NY (USA) with 186 people on board, was accelerating for take-off on RWY 08 when the crew rejected take-off at high speed due to abnormal engine (V2533) indications. The aircraft stopped safely on the runway, tower radioed the crew: "your left engine is ablaze", activated the crash button and closed RWY 08. The A321 was evacuated. Three passengers received minor injuries as result of the evacuation. Emergency services responded and put the engine fire out. (Source: avherald.com 10-Aug-2014)

Friday, August 8, 2014

Royal Navy HMS Ramsey and HMS Quorn in Valletta Port

Two Royal Navy mine countermeasure vessels HMS Ramsey (M 110) and HMS Quorn (M 41) - a Sandown-class and a Hunt-class respectively - have sailed into Valletta Port (the Grand Harbour) this morning on a courtesy visit.

The two British MCMVs are presently berthing alongside each other at Pinto-5 wharf, and they're are expected to sail from Malta on Monday, August 11th. (8-Aug-2014)

Austal USA launches future LCS USS Montgomery

Austal USA has launched today the future USS Montgomery (LCS 8), marking an important production milestone for the littoral combat ship (LCS) program. Montgomery was procured under a block buy contract awarded in Dec. 2010, and will be the second ship named for the capital of Alabama. Following the launch, the ship will undergo outfitting, and test and evaluation of its major systems at the Austal shipyard. (Source: U.S. Navy, 6-Aug-2014)

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Ryanair's Malta-bound flight from Madrid diverts to Trapani

A Ryanair Boeing B737-800 (EI-ENP), operating flight FR-5383 from Madrid-Barajas to Malta Int'l Airport, had to divert to Trapani in Sicily this afternoon after a passenger fell sick on board. The flight was due at Malta IAP at 1311lt. The flight then continued to Malta IAP landing at 1452lt.

WizzAir to start Warsaw-Malta service in April 2015

WizzAir on Wednesday announced planned expansion at Warsaw Chopin Airport in 2015, which sees the introduction of 5th based aircraft and 8 new routes. Amongst the planned new routes is the launching of a weekly flight between Warsaw and Malta IAP with effect from Apr. 5th, 2015. (Source: WizzAir, 6-Aug-2014)

M.I.A. plc releases traffic results for July 2014

Malta IAP hosted a record 511,243 passengers in July, marking an increase of 8.5% when compared to the same month last year.

These figures reinforce M.I.A. plc's decision to revise its forecast for the rest of the year. CEO M. Klaushofer announced last week that the aiRport was now expecting a year-on-year growth of 4.2%, revised from 2% originally forecast in January. This followed six record months which accounted for more than 1.8 million passenger movements.

July's figures were due to an overall seat capacity increase of 8.2% and a 0.2% increase in seat load factor, reaching 82.8% for the month. Aircraft movements for the month rose by 8.2%.

Traffic from the U.K. grew by 9.4% in July, as a result of the increased capacity to and from London-Gatwick. Traffic from Italy and France rose by 15% and 19.9% respectively, due to further growth in these markets over the July period. Traffic to and from Germany increased by 6.1%. (Source: maltairport.com, 5-Aug-2014)

Wednesday, August 6, 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-OME - Boeing B737-505 (c/n. 24274/2035), registered to Air X Charter Ltd. (ex N274EL)
Cancellation/s: none

View the complete Malta Aircraft Register

(Source: Transport Malta, 6-Aug-2014)

Air Malta to launch scheduled services to Djerba, Tunisia

Air Malta will introduce scheduled services to Djerba airport in Tunisia with effect from this Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. This decision was taken due to increased passenger demand from this airport due to the situation in Libya. The Air Malta flights will be operated twice weekly every Thursday and Sunday till Oct. 23, 2014. (Source: Air Malta, 6-Aug-2014)

AFM inaugurates their new twin engine AW-139 helo

The Armed Forces of Malta (AFM) this morning proudly inaugurated their new twin engine AW-139 helicopter (AS1428) at Air Wing Base, Luqa.  

Following an inspection of the Honour Guard, AFM Commander Brig. J. Curmi addressed those present. He said that "The acquisition of the AW-139 is a milestone in Malta's Military aviation history. This new rotary wing aircraft will increase safety standards for AFM personnel and provide superior capabilities for night operations and poor weather conditions."

The Hon. Dr E. Mallia, Minister for Home Affairs and National Security, expressed deep satisfaction with this project and said that "this is not only proof of the government's commitment towards the AFM but is also indicative of Malta's border and security policy." Dr Mallia also mentioned the operational advantages of possessing an air asset of such high caliber and took the opportunity to thank the families of military personnel that work on these assets around the clock.

The AW-139 costed around 15 million Euros and was purchased with the help of E.U. funds through the External Border Control with a co-financing rate of 75% E.U. funds and 25% National Funds.  This is the first of two aircraft which have been purchased by the AFM with the second helicopter expected in December. (Source: Armed Forces of Malta)