Friday, December 9, 2016

Canada selects the C-295W for its FWSAR program

Today, the Government of Canada announced that it had selected the Airbus C-295W for its Fixed-Wing Search and Rescue Program. As part of the FWSAR program, the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) will purchase 16 C-295Ws modified for Search and Rescue (SAR). The contract will also include in service support, provided through a joint venture between Airbus Defence and Space and PAL Aerospace. (Source: Airbus D&S, 8-Dec-2016)

Philippine Airlines finalize order for up to 12 Q400s

Bombardier Commercial Aircraft announced today that it has finalized a firm purchase agreement with Philippine Airlines. The purchase agreement includes a firm order for five Q400 aircraft and purchase rights for an additional seven Q400 aircraft. 

Based on the list price of the Q400 aircraft, the firm order is valued at approximately US$165 million and could increase to US$401 million, should Philippine Airlines exercise all its purchase rights. (Source: Bombardier, 8-Dec-2016)

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Chilean AF signs order six S-70i Black Hawks

Sikorsky has successfully concluded contract negotiations with the Chilean Air Force for six S-70i Black Hawk helicopters for the service's medium-lift helicopter recapitalization program. When delivered in 2018, the new helicopters will fulfill Chile's requirement to perform both military and humanitarian missions, such as troop transport, search and rescue, and disaster relief. (Sikorsky, 7-Dec-2016)

U.S. Navy accepts delivery of future destroyer USS John Finn

The U.S. Navy accepted delivery of future guided-missile destroyer USS John Finn (DDG 113) from shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) on the 75th anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7th. HII delivered DDG 113 after successfully completing three sets of at-sea and in-port trials which proved the ship's operational readiness. John Finn is the 63rd Arleigh Burke-class destroyer and the first of the DDG 51 Flight IIA restart ships. (Source: U.S. Navy, 7-Dec-2016)

Spanish Navy ESPS Navarra recalls at Valletta Port

The Spanish Navy Santa Maria-class frigate ESPS Navarra (F 85) has sailed into Valletta Port (the Grand Harbour) this morning on a courtesy visit. This is second visit in Valletta Port this year. 

The Spanish frigate is currently deployed in the Mediterranean and assigned to E.U. Naval Force Mediterranean (Operation Sofia).

ESPS Navarra is presently berthing alongside at Pinto-4 wharf and she's expected to sail from Valletta Port in the coming days. (8-Dec-2016)

USMC F/-18C crashes off the coast of Japan

The U.S. Marine Corps has bolstered search-and-rescue efforts after an F/A-18C Hornet fighter jet crashed Wednesday off the coast of Japan, the service said in a statement. The jet was conducting a training flight about 120 miles southeast of Iwakuni at about 6:40 p.m. Wednesday Japan time when the pilot ejected.

"Search and rescue efforts for the pilot … have expanded to a greater radius and include more rescue assets as the daylight increases," a Thursday morning statement said.

The jet that crashed had been paired with another F/A-18C for the training flight. The second jet remained above the crash site until fuel concerns forced the pilot to leave, said Navy Capt. J. Davis, a Pentagon spokesman. (Source: stripes.com, 8-Dec-2016)

PIA AT45 crashes 25-nm north of Islamabad after reporting an engine failure

A Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) ATR-42-500 (AP-BHO), performing flight PK-661 from Chitral to Islamabad (Pakistan) with 42 passengers and six crew, reported the failure of the left hand engine (PW127E). 

The crew shut the engine down and continued towards Islamabad descending, some time later declared Mayday, shortly afterwards radio and radar contact was lost with the aircraft at about 16:16L (11:16Z). 

Residents in Havelian near Abbottabad (Pakistan) heard sounds consistent with an impact. The crash site was located at that position about 25-nm north of Islamabad, the wreckage was ablaze with a plume of smoke over the crash site. All occupants of the aircraft perished in the crash. (Source: avherald.com, 7-Dec-2016)

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

M.I.A. plc releases traffic results for November 2016

The winter season opened on excellent footing at Malta International Airport, with November registering a staggering growth of 22.4% over the same month last year.

This is by far the highest monthly increase for 2016, going on to displace March’s 19% growth rate from the top spot. November’s spurt augurs well for the key stakeholders in the industry’s stepped up efforts, to ensure that the Maltese islands are an attractive, year-round holiday destination.

This growth in passenger movements was recorded in parallel with an upturn of 17% in aircraft movements and an increased seat capacity of 21.3%. This increase partly stemmed from the airport’s enhanced winter schedule, offering no less than 18 new connections for the season.

Airlines were also more efficient in filling up the available seats, with November having registered a seat load factor (SLF) of 82.4%. In absolute terms, the airport gained more than 63,000 passengers over the same month last year.

The airport’s top five markets all grew by varying degrees and featured a newcomer. Belgium made an appearance in this list for the first time, following increased connectivity to Brussels.

Outside of the top five markets, and in line with the airport’s strategy to recoup traffic from the Iberian Peninsula, Spain continued to grow at an impressive rate. The Spanish market’s 87% upturn resulted from the introduction of a twice-weekly flight to Valencia, increased operations to both Madrid and Barcelona, and Girona’s extension into the winter period.

November’s results further enhance Malta International Airport’s optimism for the winter period, as the airport focuses on welcoming 5 million passengers before the year is through. (Source: maltairport, Dec-2016)

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

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-AMY - Bombardier Challenger 850 (c/n. 8043), registered to Air X Charter Ltd. (ex OE-ISA)
Cancellation/s: none

(Source: Transport Malta, 6-Dec-2016)

Royal Jordanian AF F-16 crashes shortly after take-off from an air base

A Royal Jordanian Air Force (RJAF) pilot was killed when his F-16 aircraft crashed at noon on Monday during a training mission, according to an army statement, which added that the reason behind the crash was a malfunction. The statement by the Jordan Armed Forces-Arab Army identified the pilot as Major Ayed Ahmad Nassar Daajah, adding that the plane crashed after taking off from an airbase. (Source: jordantimes.com, 5-Dec-2016)

INS Betwa slips at the Naval dockyard in Mumbai while undocking

Two sailors were killed and 14 others were being treated for minor injuries after an Indian Navy warship tipped over at the Naval dockyard in Mumbai on Monday, defence officials said.

INSBetwa, a Brahmaputra-class guided missile warship (F 39), slipped on the dock blocks during a refit at about 1.50 pm. Officials said the extent of damage was being assessed by the navy officials. 

Sharma said the 3850-tonne ship, measuring 126m in length, tipped over while it was being undocked, and the mast of the ship hit the dockyard ground. (Source: hindustantimes.com, 5-Dec-2016)

Skywest E175 nose-gear collapse on landing at San Antonio

A Skywest Embraer E175 (N161SY) on behalf of United, performing flight OO-5588 (on Dec. 4th) from Houston Intercontinental (USA) to Monterrey (Mexico) with 51 passengers and four crew, was on final approach to Monterrey's RWY 29 when the crew aborted the approach due to an unsafe gear indication. 

The aircraft diverted to San Antonio (USA), performed a low approach to RWY 04 to have the gear inspected from the ground, the nose gear appeared to be in position. The aircraft entered a hold, the crew managed to get a locked indication for the nose gear and advised they would taxi off the runway if they were able to. 

The aircraft landed on San Antonio's RWY 04 about 85-mins after go-around in Monterrey and 30-mins after the low approach but suffered the collapse of the nose gear during the roll out and was disabled on the runway. The aircraft was evacuated through the aft exits via slides. One passenger received a minor ankle injury. (Source: avherald.com, 5-Dec-2016) 

Monday, December 5, 2016

Russian S-33 crashes in the Mediterranean while landing on the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier

Russia's Sukhoi-33 fighter jet crashed in the Mediterranean while landing on The Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement obtained by TASS.

"After performing a combat mission over Syria a Sukhoi-33 fighter-jet overran the runway while trying to land on the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier. The arresting cable's rupture was the reason," the report says.

The pilot ejected himself and was promptly taken on board the carrier by search and rescue service. His life is not in danger, the Defense Ministry said.

"Deck aircraft keep performing their missions," the report runs. The Russian aircraft carrier-led group keeps operating in the Mediterranean in accordance with the long voyage plan. (Source: tass.com, 5-Dec-2016

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Tanzania orders two Bombardier CS300s and one Q400

Bombardier Commercial Aircraft announced today that the United Republic of Tanzania represented by the Tanzanian Government Flight Agency (TGFA) has signed firm purchase agreements for two CS300 jetliners and one Q400 turboprop aircraft. The aircraft will be leased to and operated by Air Tanzania (The Wings of the Kilimanjaro) based in Dar es Salaam. Based on the list prices of the CS300 and Q400 aircraft, the combined value of the purchase agreements is approximately $200 million US. (Source: Bombardier, 2-Dec-2016)

South African Airways takes delivery of its first A333

South African Airways (SAA) has taken delivery of its first of five new leased A330-300 widebody jetliners (ZS-SXI), becoming Airbus’s first Southern African operator of the aircraft type. SAA's A330-300 are configured in a comfortable two-class cabin layout with 46 seats in Business Class and 203 in Economy class seats. 

SAA has selected the latest 242-tonne Maximum Take-Off Weight variant of the A330-300, which incorporates a new aerodynamic packages enabling the aircraft to cover distances of up to 11,750-km in flights up to 15 hours in duration. (Source: Airbus, 2-Dec-2016)

Air France takes delivery of its first 787-9 Dreamliner

Air France has taken delivery of its first Boeing 787, a 787-9 (F-HRBA), leased through Netherlands-based AerCap. It will be used on Air France's Paris-Cairo route from January 2017.

The Air France-KLM Group has ordered 18 787-9s and seven 787-10s, with an additional 12 787-9s leased through AerCap. The arrival of Air France’s first 787-9 is part of the carrier’s continued renewal of its long-haul fleet.

Air France-KLM CEO Jean-Marc Janaillac said the Dreamliner “marks a new stage in the modernization of our fleet. It will offer customers the best of Air France's products and services.” The 787 is the 50th Dreamliner for AerCap and Boeing’s 500th 787. (Source: 2-Dec-2016)

Air Malta launches its 2017 summer schedule

Air Malta is planning to operate 150 weekly flights to 29 destinations next summer. With this schedule, running from the Mar. 26th till Oct. 28, 2017, the Maltese airline is planning to carry 1.2 million passengers while continue operating with a fleet of eight aircraft similar to this year.

Air Malta's summer 2017 schedule sees the airline operate increased frequencies on Munich, Brussels, Amsterdam, Vienna, Zurich, Rome, Catania, Lyon, Palermo, Prague and Moscow. The airline will operate with up to double daily flights in peak summer to Munich, Rome and Catania. 

Next summer Air Malta will decrease some frequencies for all or part of the season on London Gatwick, Berlin, Manchester and Geneva and dropping Athens and Frankfurt. However the airline will still retain its code-share flights to Frankfurt where Lufthansa will be the operating carrier with two daily flights.

The airline will continue code-sharing agreements with Air France, Alitalia, Aeroflot, Austrian Airlines, Emirates, Etihad, KLM, Lufthansa, Brussels Airlines, Czech Airlines, Meridiana, Swiss Airlines and Turkish Airlines. These agreements expand Air Malta's network to other markets worldwide. 

This summer schedule will maximise opportunities, increase efficiency and make flights more attractive, both for travellers from Malta as well as for the tourists visiting the islands next summer. 

"We have focused on our core routes; increasing frequencies on them whilst decreasing or stopping operations to low performing ones. We have increased frequencies to the most convenient international airports enabling our guests to fly when they want with the least ground transportation costs possible. Our strategy to increase frequencies will translate into better opportunities for short-break visitors, growth in tourism numbers to Malta, whilst operating with increasing aircraft utilisation", said J. Galea Air Malta’s Acting Chief Executive.

"We are determined to continue maximising our limited resources to achieve better operational efficiency and reap the best opportunities from our route network. We pride to operate the best conveniently timed flight schedule and route network to and from Malta by operating to the best airports that offer connections far and beyond Air Malta's network though our code-share partners", added Mr Galea.

Next summer Air Malta will also continue being the largest charter operator to/from Malta and is planning an interesting program for Maltese and foreign operators. Discussions with charter operators are currently underway. (Source: Air Malta, 30-Nov-2016)

Friday, December 2, 2016

Lockheed Martin receives contract for two C-130J-30s for France

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics has been awarded a $133.4 million modification (P00658) to previously awarded contract FA8625-11-C-6597 for aircraft. Contractor will provide two U.S. government-configured C-130J-30 aircraft. Work is expected to be completed by Aug. 30th, 2020. This modification involves unclassified foreign military sales (FMS) to France. U.S. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity. (Source: U.S. Department of Defense, 1-Dec-2016)

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Romania orders four Sigma-class light frigates for its Navy

The Romanian Government has ordered four Sigma class light frigates for the Romanian Navy at a cost of $1.1 billion. The new ships will be built under license at the Damen Shipyards in Galati. 

According to a statement released by the Ministry of Defense in Bucharest, "The project provides for the purchase of four corvettes multirole with a minimum lifespan of 30 years which can be extended by successive upgrades. Vessels to be acquired will be used for military actions, independently or within multinational groups, ensure the integrity of the maritime space, participation in enforcing compliance to national and international execution of operations of maritime security and interventions for search and rescue." This is a fairly standard role definition for ships of this type. 

Total cost of the project is RON4.3 billion, ($1.1 billion) payable in installments up to 2020.  The price of these four ships is a bit above the norm for light frigates in this category but the requirement for production in Romanian yards and the very tight delivery schedule justified the costs involved. (Source: Forecast International, 28-Nov-2016)

Aircalin signs MOU for A320neos and two A330-900s

Aircalin, the Noumea based carrier in the French territory of New Caledonia has signed an agreement (MOU) for two A320neo single-aisle and two A330-900 wide-body aircraft. The agreement was finalised and signed at a ceremony in the capital Noumea attended by airline officials and Airbus executives. The A320neo engine choice will be made at a later date as will the cabin configuration of both aircraft types. (Source: Airbus, 29-Nov-2016)

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

French Navy FS Commandant L'Herminier calls at Valletta Port

The French Navy D'Estienne d'Orves-class corvette FS Commandant L'Herminier (F 791) sailed into Valletta Port (the Grand Harbour) this afternoon on a courtesy visit.

The French corvette is currently deployed in the Mediterranean and assigned to E.U. Naval Force Mediterranean (Operation Sofia).

The FS Commandant L'Herminier is presently berthing alongside at Pinto-5 wharf, and she's expected to sail from Valletta Port in the coming days. (29-Nov-2016)

LAMIA Bolivia RJ85 crashes in La Ceja at the slopes of Cerro Gordo

A LAMIA Bolivia Avro RJ-85 (CP-2933) performing flight LMI-2933 (on Nov. 28th) from Santa Cruz (Bolivia) to Medellin (Colombia) with 72 passengers and nine crew, was descending towards Medellin about 15 to 20-nm southeast of Medellin in the area of La Ceja (Colombia) at 21:56L (02:56Z Nov. 29th) when the aircraft disappeared from radar screens. 

The airport of Medellin reported that the crash site has been located in the municipality of La Ceja at the slopes of Cerro Gordo (approx. coordinates N5.9805 W75.4183). Authorities confirmed five survivors (three players, a flight attendant and a journalist) and 76 fatalities stating one of initially six survivors died in hospital care. (Source: avherald.com, 29-Nov-2016)

Bombardier delivers the first CS300 to launch operator airBaltic

Bombardier Commercial Aircraft today announced the delivery of the first CS300 aircraft (YL-CSA) to launch operator Air Baltic Corporation AS (airBaltic), the flag carrier of Latvia. The CS300 is the larger variant of Bombardier's all new C Series aircraft, which is designed to carry between 130 and 150 passengers. The handover to airBaltic comes just five months after the successful entry into service of the CS100 variant of the C Series. (Source: Bombardier, 28-Nov-2016)

Royal Canadian AF CF-18 crashes in a training area near Cold Lake, Alberta

A Canadian CF-18 fighter pilot was killed on Monday when his single-seat jet crashed in a training area near Cold Lake, Alberta, the country's military said. "The name will not be released until next of kin are notified," the Department of National Defence said in a statement. "A flight safety investigation will be conducted to determine the cause of the incident."

In a tweet, the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) called the crash an accident, but did not elaborate. The defense department said there were no other casualties. The incident happened near the community of Cold Lake, which is close to the neighboring province of Saskatchewan and is home to 4 Wing Cold Lake, the busiest fighter base in Canada, according to the defense department.

The pilot involved was from 4 Wing and crashed his CF-188 Hornet at about 11 a.m. in the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range in Saskatchewan, said Captain Mat Strong, public affairs officer for the base. A defense department spokeswoman said helicopters were dispatched following the incident. (Source: reuters.com, 28-Nov-2016)

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Portuguese Navy NRP Figueira da Foz calls at Valletta Port

The Portuguese Navy Viana do Castelo-class offshore-patrol vessel NRP Figueira da Foz (P 361) has sailed into Valletta Port (Grand Harbour) this morning on a courtesy visit.

The Portuguese offshore-patrol vessel is presently berthing alongside at Pinto-3 Wharf, and she's expected to sail from Valletta Port on Wednesday, Nov. 30th. (27-Nov-2016)