Friday, March 31, 2017

Airbus' A319neo completes maiden flight

The first Airbus A319neo performed its maiden flight today, The smallest member of the A320neo Family, powered by CFM International LEAP-1A engines took-off from Hamburg and landed in Toulouse after a five-hour flight. 

It was piloted by Experimental test pilots M. Gagneux and E. Hausser. They were assisted in the cockpit by Test-Flight Engineer J. M. Pin, while two flight test engineers S. Loisel-Labaste and D. O’nions directed the flight from the aircraft’s Test Engineer station.

This flight was the occasion for the crew to assess the general handling of the aircraft and to check the main systems. The A319neo (D-AVWA) will be based in Toulouse in order to complete its flight test programme. (Source: Airbus, 31-Mar-2017)

Boeing receives contract for 17 P-8A Poseidons

Boeing is being awarded a modification to a previously awarded fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract (N00019-14-C-0067) for the manufacture and delivery of 17 Lot-8 full-rate production P-8A aircraft for the Navy (11), foreign military sales (two), and cooperative agreement partners (four); and long lead parts associated with the manufacture of ten Lot-9 P-8A aircraft for the Navy (seven) and the foreign military sales partners (three). Work is expected to be completed in December 2020. U.S. Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity. (Source: U.S. Department of Defense, 30-Mar-2017)

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Embraer's E195-E2 completes first flight

Ten months after the first flight of the E190-E2, today Embraer performed the inaugural flight of another member of the E2 family, ahead of schedule. Today, the E195-E2, the largest aircraft of the family took-off for the first time. The flight, originally scheduled for the second half of the year, happened just three weeks after the roll-out. 

The E195-E2 departed at 1122lt, from Embraer's facility in Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil, and flew for two-hours, beginning the aircraft certification campaign. Staffed by pilots Marcio Brizola Jordao and Jose Willi Pirk, as well as flight engineers Celso Braga de Mendonça and Mario Ito, the flight crew evaluated aircraft performance, flight quality and systems behavior, such as autopilot, fly-by-wire in direct mode, and the landing gear retraction. (29-Mar-2017)

CityJet firms option on four CRJ9s

Bombardier Commercial Aircraft today announced that Dublin-based regional carrier, CityJet has exercised the four options that were part of a purchase agreement announced last Feb. 1st. That agreement included a firm order for six CRJ-900 aircraft and options for four more. Upon delivery, the aircraft will operate under wet lease in the SAS network. Based on the list price of the CRJ-900 aircraft, the order is valued at approximately US $467 million, now that all options have been exercised. 

TAG Aviation granted Maltese AOC

TAG Aviation Europe is pleased to announce that it has received the Air Operators Certificate (AOC) from the Transport Malta - Civil Aviation Directorate (TMCA). The granting of the Maltese AOC is the culmination of several months of dedicated planning and reaffirms TAG's commitment to continue its expansion into new EU territories and provide its customers with an attractive choice of aircraft commercial registration. (Source: TAG Aviation, 27-Mar-2017)

Pakistan orders additional AW-139 helicopters

Leonardo announced today that the Government of Pakistan has signed a new order for an undisclosed number of additional AgustaWestland AW-139 intermediate twin engine helicopters. The aircraft will be used to perform utility, SAR (Search and Rescue) and EMS (Emergency Medical Service) operations across the nation. Deliveries are expected to start in early 2018. (Source: Leonardo, 28-Mar-2017)

Peruvian B733 lands hard at Jauja, veers off runway

A Peruvian Airlines Boeing 737-300 (OB-2036-P), performing flight P9-112 from Lima to Jauja (Peru) with 141 people on board, landed on Jauja's RWY 31 at about 16:40L (21:40Z) but veered off the runway, suffered the collapse of all gear and burst into flames coming to a stop after skidding on fire for some distance. The aircraft was evacuated. There were no injuries, the aircraft received substantial damage beyond repair. (Source:, 28-Mar-2017)

Monday, March 27, 2017

Wizz Air launches new route Cluj-Malta IAP

Wizz Air launched today its new route between Cluj-Napoca (Romania) and Malta IAP. The first scheduled flight, operated with Airbus A320-200 (HA-LPJ) landed at Malta IAP (W6-3399) at 1946lt. The return flight to Cluj departed from Malta IAP (W6-3400) at 2038lt. WizzAir will be operating this route twice-weekly. (26-Mar-2017)

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Royal Navy HMS Echo (H 87) recalls at Valletta Port

The Royal Navy Echo-class survery vessel HMS Echo (H 87) sailed into Valletta Port (the Grand Harbour) this morning on a courtesy visit. This is her second port-call in Valletta this year.

The British survey vessel is currently deployed in the Mediterranean and assigned to E.U. Naval Force Mediterranean (Operation Sofia). 

HMS Echo is presently berthing alongside at Pinto-4 wharf, and she's expected to sail from Valletta Port tomorrow. (25-Mar-2017)

Friday, March 24, 2017

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-OWL - Bombardier Challenger 605 (c/n. 5939), registered to TAG Aviation Malta Ltd. (ex M-AKER)
Cancellation/s: none

(Source: Transport Malta, 23-Mar-2017)

French Navy FS Cdt. Birot calls at Valletta Port

The French Navy D'Estienne d'Orves-class corvette FS Commandant Birot (F 796) 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).

FS Cdt. Birot is presently berthing alongside at Pinto-1 wharf and she's expected to sail from Malta on Monday, Mar. 27th (24-Mar-2016)

Japan commissions second Izumo-class helicopter carrier, JS Kaga

The Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) commissioned its second Izumo-class helicopter carrier, the JS Kaga (184), during a ceremony held on Mar. 22nd at the Japan Marine United shipyard. The 27,000 tonne ship is the second helicopter carrier in a class which Japan officially refers to as helicopter destroyers.

Measuring 248m in length, Kaga and Izumo are capable of operating some nine helicopters from their decks and are armed with two Raytheon RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile SeaRAM launchers and two Phalanx close-in weapon systems. (Source:, 23-Mar-2017)

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Air Malta will start its summer schedule on March 26th

With a planned 150 weekly flights to 30 destinations, Air Malta will start its summer schedule on Sunday Mar. 26th. The Maltese national airline will operate with a fleet of eight aircraft, similar to last year and is set to carry over 1.2 million passengers during the coming seven-months.

After a period of consolidation, Air Malta can announce one definite new destination, and is close to deciding a second new destination. After having operated in the past as charter destination, Air Malta will soon offer Tel Aviv as a scheduled service, making it possible to buy seats through its website and also travel agents.

And there is more good news. This summer Air Malta has 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.

"Besides more flights to some of our best leisure and business destinations, we are also concentrating on the most convenient international airports that offer world-wide connections to and from Malta. Air Malta is determined to further grow in its key markets and work to open new traffic streams to new leisure markets in the medium term", said P. Sies, Air Malta's Chief Officer Commercial. 

"Besides Tel Aviv we are expecting to announce another new destination for this summer. Air Malta will offer increased value for money in its new business model and besides structural competitive fares please do watch out for our flash sales actions several times per year. We operate the most comfortable and conveniently timed flight schedule and route network to and from Malta. Through our code-share partners we offer connections far and beyond Air Malta’s network", added Mr Sies.

Apart from the scheduled services this summer Air Malta is operating an interesting series of charter operations to Tel-Aviv, Bucharest, Warsaw, Bratislava, Ljubljana, Zagreb, Dubrovnik, Corfu Chania and Lourdes.

The Maltese National airline will continue code-share 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. (Source: Mar-2017)

Italian Navy ITS Giuseppe Garibaldi calls at Valletta Port

The Italian Navy aircraft carrier ITS Giuseppe Garibaldi (551) sailed into Valletta Port (the Grand Harbour) this morning on a courtesy visit. She has two helicopters on board, an AB-212 (serial MM81090) and SH-90 (serial MM81590).

The Italian carrier is currently deployed in the Mediterranean and she's the mission flagship of the E.U. Naval Force Mediterranean (Operation Sofia). 

ITS G. Garibaldi is presently berthing alongside at Boiler wharf, and she's expected to sail from Valletta Port this Saturday, Mar. 26th. (23-Mar-2017)

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

South Supreme AN26 collides with fire track after landing at Wau

A South Supreme Airlines Antonov AN-26 (S9-TLW), performing a flight from Juba to Wau (South Sudan), suffered a landing accident at Wau airport (South Sudan), came to a rest near the first part of RWY 27 and burst into flames. All 45 occupants (40 pax and 5 crew) were rescued alive, 17 or 18 have been taken to local hospitals with injuries. In the evening the airline reported that due to bad weather the aircraft "missed the line" and collided with a truck of the fire brigades. (Source:, 20-Mar-2017)

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Regional Express SF34 propeller shears off in mid-flight

A Regional Express Saab 340 (VH-NRX), operating flight ZL-768 from Albury to Sydney (Australia) and carrrying 16 passengers and three crew, was about 10-nm from Sydney airport when its right-hand propeller flew off, leading the two pilots to declare a PAN, which is one step down from a full-scale Mayday.

The pilots are understood to have felt a vibration and were about to shut down the right-hand engine when they looked out the cockpit window to see the propeller – rotating at thousands of revolutions per minute – disappear over the plane' s wing.

Following the PAN call to air-traffic control, emergency services readied for the planes arrival at the airport, but it landed safely shortly after midday on Friday. The plane was towed to Regional Express' hangar near the domestic terminal at Sydney airport. (Source:, 17-Mar-2017)

Friday, March 17, 2017

U.K. Border Force HMC Valiant calls at Valletta Port

The United Kingdom's Border Force 42m customs cutter HMC Valiant sailed into Valletta Port (the Grand Harbour) this afterrnoon on a courtesy visit.

UKBF 42m Customs Cutter is a class of four patrol vessels, derived from the Dutch Damen Stan Patrol 4207 design. 

HMC Valiant is presently berthing alongside at Bezzina Ship Repair Yard (Coal wharf), and she's expected to sail from Malta in the coming days. (17-Mar-2017)

Boeing receives contract for 244 remanufactured and 24 new-built AH-64Es

Boeing and the U.S. government recently signed a five-year, $3.4 billion contract through which the Army, and a customer outside the U.S., will acquire the latest Apache attack helicopter at a significant savings to taxpayers.

This is the first multi-year agreement for the Apache “E” variant. The Army will receive 244 remanufactured Apaches while 24 new ones will go to the international customer. (Source: Boeing, 16-Mar-2017)

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Boeing receives contract for AH-64E full-rate production of remanufactured for Saudi Arabia

Boeing was awarded a $3.3 billion modification (PZ0002) to foreign military sales (Saudi Arabia) contract W58RGZ-16-C-0023 for Apache attack helicopter multi-year lots 7-11, AH-64E full-rate production of re-manufactured aircraft and new build aircraft, remanufacture and new build Longbow crew trainers, peculiar ground support equipment, initial spares, integrated logistics support, and engineering technical services. Work has an estimated completion date of June 30, 2022. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity. (Source: U.S. Department of Defense, 15-Mar-2017)

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Indian AF Su-30MKI crashes in Rajasthan’s Barmer

Three people were injured after an Indian Air Force Sukhoi-30MKI fighter plane crashed in Rajasthan’s Barmer this afternoon, according to TV reports. It has been learned that both pilots are safe. A court of Inquiry has been ordered by Indian Air Force, the report says. The injured were admitted to government hospital. The area has been cordoned off. The aircraft has crashed during the routine sortie. (Source:, 15-Mar-2017)

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

CDB Aviation orders 30 737 MAX8s

Boeing and CDB Aviation Lease Finance (CDB Aviation) announced an order today for 30 737 MAX 8 airplanes. The order, valued at $3.3 billionat current list prices, was previously unidentified on Boeing's Orders & Deliveries website. Both sides agreed to take this opportunity to broaden communication and strengthen cooperation in various fields, bringing the partnership to a new level. (Source: Boeing, 13-Mar-2017)

Royal Canadian Navy decommissions last destroyer in service

The Royal Canadian Navy bid farewell to its last destroyer, Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship Athabaskan, during a paying off ceremony at HMC Dockyard in Halifax on Mar 10th. HMCS Athabaskan (282), the last of the four Iroquois-class destroyers, served the Royal Canadian Navy for more than 44 years. (Source:, 13-Mar-2017)

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-MXP - Cessna 551 Citation IISP (c/n. 551-0421), registered to Pontair Ltd. (ex G-LUXY)
  • 9H-AEL - Airbus A319-100 (c/n. 2332), registered to Air Malta plc (rrg EI-FMV)
  • 9H-CMA - Bombardier Global 5000 (c/n. 9693), registered to Albinati Aviation Ltd.
(Source: Transport Malta, 10-Mar-2017)

Monday, March 13, 2017

New South Korean carrier KAIR Airlines orders eight A320s

South Korean start-up carrier KAIR Airlines has announced that it has selected the A320 Family to launch its new low cost operation, with a firm order for eight A320ceo. The new airline will be based in Cheongju in central South Korea and will focus primarily on services to international destinations in North East Asia. (Source: Airbus, 13-Mar-2017)

Iran Air takes delivery of its first A332

Iran Air has taken delivery of its first new A330-200. The delivery of the aircraft is part of Iran Air's major fleet renewal plan, and is the first wide body from a firm order placed by the national carrier of Iran in December 2016 for 100 Airbus aircraft (46 single and 54 wide-body) to renew and expand its fleet with new aircraft.   

Iran Air's A332 features a two class cabin layout, seating 32 passengers in business and 206 in economy. The delivery, which took place at the Airbus delivery centre in Toulouse, marks yet another milestone for Iran Air, as it celebrates its 56 anniversary since establishment. (Source: Airbus, 10-Mar-2017)

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Germanwings' flight bound to Catania-Fontanarossa diverts to Malta IAP

A Germanwings A319-100 (D-AKNM), performing flight 4U-2818 from Stuttgart (Germany) to Catania-Fontanarossa (Sicily, Italy) had to divert to Malta IAP this afternoon after encountering strong winds while attempting to land at Catania. The aircraft then continued with its flight to Catania reaching destination with a delay of 3.5-hrs on its original time. (11-Mar-2017)

Friday, March 10, 2017

Wizz Air launches new route Katowice-Malta IAP

Wizz Air launched today its new route between Katowice (Poland) and Malta IAP. The first scheduled flight, operated with Airbus A320-200 (HA-LYI) landed at Malta IAP (W6-1163) at 1242. The return flight to Katowice departed from Malta IAP (W6-1164) at 1347lt. WizzAir will be operating this route twice-weekly. (10-Mar-2017)

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Royal Navy HMS Ocean (L 12) calls at Valletta Port

The Royal Navy assault carrier HMS Ocean (L 12) sailed into Valletta Port (the Grand Harbour) this morning on a courtesy visit. She has two Merlin helicopters on board, serials ZH854 and ZH835.

The British carrier is presently berthing alongside at Pinto-1/2 wharf, and she's expected to sail from Valletta Port on Sunday, Mar. 12th. (9-Mar-2017)

Embraer rolls-out it first E195-E2

In a ceremony held today at the Company's facilities in São José dos Campos, Embraer presented the largest aircraft of the second generation of the E2-Jets family, the most efficient aircraft in the single aisle jet market: the E195-E2. With the first flight scheduled for the coming months, the jet is expected to enter into service in the first half of 2019.

"The E195-E2 has the potential to significantly change the fleet profile of airlines around the world. With a 20% lower cost per trip and a cost per seat similar to larger aircraft, the E195-E2 becomes the ideal aircraft for regional business growth as well as low-cost business plans and complementing existing mainline fleets" said J. Slattery, President & CEO, Embraer Commercial Aviation.

The E195-E2 has three additional rows of seats, when compared to the current generation E195, and it can be configured with 120 seats in two classes of service, or up to 146 in a single class. The aircraft also has a significant increase in range of 450 nautical miles, which allows trips of up to 2,450 nautical miles. (Source: Embraer, 7-Mar-2017)

RFA Gold Rover decommissioned after 43 years of service

Royal Fleet Auxiliary tanker Gold Rover (A 271) was officially decommissioned in a Mar. 6th ceremony at HM Naval Base Portsmouth, after over 40 years of service. Commander Naval Operations Rear Admiral B. Tarrant and the Head of the RFA Cdre D. Lamb joined former COs of the tanker for a service of thanksgiving led by the RFA’s chaplain, the Rev M. Hills, celebrating 43 years of work around the globe. (Source: navaltoday, 8-Mar-2017)

Ameristar MD83 overruns runway after rejecting take-off at Detroit

An Ameristar McDonnell Douglas MD-83 (N786TW), performing charter flight 7Z-9363 from Detroit Willow Run to Washington Dulles (USA), was accelerating for take-off from Willow Run's 23L at about 15:40L (20:40Z) when the crew rejected take-off at high speed but overran the end of the runway, broke through the instrument landing system and approach lighting runway 05R, the airport perimeter fence, went over a road and came to a stop about 340m past the runway end with collapsed nose gear and main gear in a ditch. There were no injuries, the aircraft sustained substantial damage.The aircraft was carrying Michigan's Men Basketball Team. (Source:, 8-Mar-2017)

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

M.I.A. plc releases traffic results for February 2017

Malta International Airport welcomed 296,250 passengers in February, translating into a remarkable 25.2% increase in traffic over the same period in 2016, in spite of the fact that this year the month was a day shorter.

This makes February the fourth, consecutive winter month to register double-digit growth, in line with the airport’s strategy to attract more traffic in the shoulder months. On the busiest day in February, which coincided with Carnival weekend, the airport team was kept busy with a total of 13,679 passengers passing through the terminal.

Growth in passenger numbers was experienced in parallel with an upturn of 22.3% in aircraft movements and an increase of 29.4% in seat capacity. Standing at 76.8%, seat load factor, however, registered a decrease of 2.6% over last year.

Malta IAP's top markets remained largely unchanged from January, with the U.K. topping the list followed by Italy, Germany, Belgium, and France. More than half of the 59,602 additional passengers welcomed last month traveled from Italy, Germany and Belgium, with enhanced connectivity to these markets contributing to their notable growth.

Outside of the top five markets, Spain and Poland were important contributors to February's total traffic, accounting for 12,435 passengers and 8,253 passengers, respectively. Both of these markets have been experiencing steady growth, following stepped-up efforts to redevelop the Spanish market and enhance connectivity to Eastern Europe.

The maximum take-off weight (MTOW) at the airport also experienced a 30.0% growth to reach 96,282 tonnes, while the weight of cargo and mail increased by 25.5% to reach 1,359 tonnes. (Source:, 7-Mar-2017)

Boeing rolls out its first 737 MAX 9 aircraft

Boeing (NYSE: BA) marked a milestone today as the first 737 MAX 9 made its debut in front of thousands of Boeing employees. The 737 MAX 9 is the second member of Boeing's industry leading 737 MAX family, with a maximum capacity of 220 passengers and a range of 3,515 nautical miles.

The airplane now begins system checks, fueling and engine runs on the flight line. Once completed, the airplane will begin flight testing in the coming weeks – the final phase of verification of the operational characteristics and overall performance of a new airplane. (Source: Boeing, 7-Mar-2017)

Milestone Aviation places €200M firm order with Airbus Helicopters

Milestone Aviation Group Ltd., the global leader in helicopter leasing, announced today a €200 million firm order with Airbus Helicopters including H145, H135 and H175 helicopters. Delivery of the aircraft on order is scheduled to begin in mid-2017 with deployment into emergency medical service and other parapublic segments. (Source: Airbus Helicopters, 7-Mar-2017)

Waypoint Leasing to bolster fleet with 16 new Airbus helicopters

Airbus Helicopters and leasing company Waypoint Leasing (Ireland) Ltd., announced today that Waypoint has committed to acquiring an additional 16 Airbus rotorcraft. The agreement, for more than €100 million, covers the purchase of 16 aircraft including supplementary H135s and H145s and adding the H175 for the first time to Waypoint’s fleet. (Source: Airbus Helicopters, 7-Mar-2017)

Milestone Aviation orders six AW-139s and three AW-169s

Leonardo and Milestone Aviation Group Ltd., a leader in helicopter leasing, today announced a contract for nine aircraft – six AW-139 and three AW-169 helicopters – expected to deliver in 2017 and 2018. The order, valued at €90 million, reaffirms Milestone's commitment to the Leonardo family. (Source: Leonardo, 7-Mar-2017)

Fleet Air Int'l SF34 intercepted by fighters after loss of communication

A Fleet Air International Saab 340B (HA-TAB), performing freight flight FRF-101 from Bucharest-Otopeni (Romania) to Birmingham (U.K.), was en route at FL220 over Belgium when the communication between ATC and the aircraft was lost. Belgium and U.K. fighter aircraft were dispatched to intercept the aircraft, the Belgian F-16s reached the Saab over the North Sea, the U.K. Typhoons and Voyagers took over and escorted the Saab to the destination Birmingham. (Source:, 7-Mar-2017)

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Malta IAP places third in the best airport by region (Europe) in 2016 ASQ Awards

Malta IAP has placed third in the Best Airport by Region (Europe) category in Airports Council International's 2016 Airport Service Quality (ASQ) Awards. Airports Council International (ACI) today announced the winners of its ASQ Awards, following the rating of 284 airports worldwide by passengers travelling through them during the course of 2016.

Malta IAP obtained its highest score to date in this survey, which measures passengers' overall satisfaction with their airport experience, including staff efficiency and courtesy, ease of way finding and airport facilities. This landed the airport in a prestigious third place from among eighty-four European peers welcoming over two million passengers annually. Sharing this spot with Malta IAP are Dublin (28 milllion pax/year), Porto (seven million pax/year) and Zurich (27 million pax/year) airports. (Source:, 6-Mar-2017)

India decommissions its first aircraft carrier INS Viraat

The Indian Navy's first aircraft carrier INS Viraat was decommissioned today in Mumbai after 56 years of service. The ship had its naval ensign and commissioning pennant hauled down one last time during a ceremony attended by all of 21 Indian Navy commanding officers to have commanded the carrier in almost three decades it spent with the Indian Navy.

Prior to coming to India, INS Viraat was known as HMS Hermes, a UK Royal Navy Centaur-class aircraft carrier built by Vickers-Armstrong and commissioned in November 1959. HMS Hermes was sold to India in 1986 and recommissioned into Indian Navy service as INS Viraat. Serving until 2016, Viraat was also the last British-built ship to sail under the Indian Navy flag. (Source:, 6-Mar-2017)

Aer Lingus selects ALC for A321neo(LR) leases

Aer Lingus has signed long term lease agreements with Air Lease Corporation (ALC) for seven new A321neo Long Range (LR) aircraft to operate on transatlantic and other routes. The aircraft are sourced from ALC’s Airbus order book. Delivery of the aircraft is scheduled to begin during the second quarter of 2019, with three deliveries in 2019 and four deliveries in 2020. (Source:, 6-Mar-2017)

Monday, March 6, 2017

Fincantieri launches Federico Martinengo, seventh FREMM frigate for Italian Navy

Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri launched 'Federico Martinengo', the seventh Italian Navy FREMM frigate, during a ceremony on Mar. 4th at the Riva Trigoso shipyard in Genoa. 'Federico Martinengo' is the seventh of overall ten vessels in the Carlo Bergamini-class Fincantieri is to build for the Italian Navy.

Godmother of the ceremony was M. De Caro, widow of G. Porcelli, Commander of the Scirocco frigate, who lost his life in 1997 during operational activities held within NATO naval forces in the Mediterranean. After the launch, fitting activities will continue in the Integrated naval shipyard of Muggiano (La Spezia), with delivery scheduled in early 2018. (Source:, 6-Mar-2017)

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Syrian warplane crashes near border with Turkey

A fighter jet of the Syrian Air Force crashed on Saturday in the area bordering Turkey, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on the HaberTurk TV channel. "The plane is supposed to be a MiG-23 of the Syrian AF," he said. 

"The pilot is believed to have bailed out. The plane crashed on the Syrian side of the frontier, but the pilot may have come down either on the Syrian or Turkish side. We have no precise information." (Source:, 4-Mar-2017)

Saturday, March 4, 2017

France selects H160 for light helicopter replacement programme

France has selected the Airbus Helicopters H160 as the basis for its tri-service light rotorcraft replacement programme, a major coup for the developmental medium twin. 

Speaking during a visit to the manufacturer's Marignane facility in the south of the country, French defence minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said that deliveries under the hélicoptère interarmées léger (HIL) effort would start in around 2024.

Le Drian says that between 160 and 190 aircraft would be required under HIL, which seeks to replace a number of ageing types across all three French services. (Source:, 3-Mar-2017)

Thursday, March 2, 2017

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-AEM - Airbus A319-100 (c/n. 2382), registered to Air Malta plc (rrg EI-FXM)
(Source: Transport Malta, 2-Mar-2017)

QinetiQ signs deal for four H125 helicopters

QinetiQ has signed a deal for four Airbus H125 helicopters as part of its modernisation of the Empire Test Pilots' School, which it manages alongside the UK’s Ministry of Defence. 

Worth approximately £15 million, the deal will see Airbus Helicopters' UK design team upgrade the Garmin G500-equipped aircraft with, among other capabilities, a three-axis autopilot, dedicated communications equipment and Traffic Awareness Systems. 

This is in addition to a Flight Test Instrumentation suite, which is used to test and evaluate aircraft design and performance – a critical part of a test pilot or flight test engineer's training.

The contract includes aircraft modification and ten-years full HCare support package – industry's most comprehensive service coverage – helping to deliver full availability. The aircraft are expected to enter service in early 2019. (Source: Airbus Helicopters, 1-Mar-2017)

Ryanair announces three new routes for Malta's winter schedule

Three new routes and more flights to a number of others will mean Ryanair will start delivering 2.2 million visitors to Malta every year.

The low-cost airline announced on Wednesday it would be introducing new routes to Belfast (Ireland), Naples (Italy) and Riga (Latvia) as from its winter 2017 schedule, while also adding more flights to Gdansk, Krakow, Stockholm Skavsta, Venice Treviso, Vilnius and Wroclaw.

The new will routes raise the total number of routes linked to Malta via Ryanair to 40, with flights increasing to a total of 109 each week.

Ryanair’s Chief Commercial Officer D. O’Brien said that the new routes were further proof of the airline's continued commitment to Malta.

O’Brien said the airline had also recorded record bookings on its Malta summer 2017 schedule, mainly due to more flights to destinations for summer family holidays, low fares and a better customer experience. (Source:, 1-Mar-2017)

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Wizz Air announces planned service between Skopje and Malta

Wizz Air yesterday announced planned service expansion at Skopje (Republic of Macedonia) starting mid-July 2017, thanks to the addition of fourth based aircraft. The airline plans to introduce three new routes. One the new routes will be between Skopje and Malta IAP, effective from Jul. 14th, with two weekly flights on Monday and Fridays. (Source:, 1-Mar-2017)

USN decommissions Los Angeles-class submarine USS Albuquerque

The Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Albuquerque (SSN 706) was decommissioned after 33 years of service during a ceremony held at Keyport Undersea Museum, Feb. 27th.  Rear Adm. John Tammen, commander, Submarine Group 9, the guest speaker for the event, delivered remarks highlighting the boat's many accomplishments.  Albuquerque arrived at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard for inactivation and decommissioning, Oct. 28th, 2015, following an inactivation ceremony in San Diego. (Source: U.S. Navy, 28-Feb-2017)

Air Caraibes takes delivery of its first A350-900

With this latest delivery, Air Caraibes becomes the first French airline to operate the A350 XWB. The aircraft (F-HHAV), leased from AerCap, was delivered during a ceremony held today at the Airbus Delivery Centre in Toulouse. It will take off at 14:00 heading for Paris-Orly Sud before embarking on its first commercial flight to Pointe-à-Pitre and Fort-de-France on Mar. 2nd. (Source: Airbus, 28-Feb-2017)

Boeing receives contract for seven EA-18Gs and five F/A-18Es for USN

Boeing is being awarded a $678.7 million fixed-price, incentive-firm target contract for the procurement of seven Lot 40 EA-18G aircraft and associated airborne electronic attack kits and five F/A-18E aircraft for U.S. Navy. Work is expected to be completed in February 2019. U.S. Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity (N00019-17-C-0003). (Source: U.S. Department of Defense, 27-Feb-2017)